Puri: The Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) is in no mood to issue a rate chart for Mahaprasad till the completion of the general and Assembly elections, sources said.
The temple administration believes that issuance of the rate chart may invite sharp reactions from either the devotees or Suar and Mahasuar servitors. The issue is likely to create trouble for the state government, it is learnt.
As per the Srimandir tradition, the Suar and Mahasuar servitors cook Mahaprasad at the temple kitchen and sell the delicacies to devotees. The temple delicacies are sold to devotees at Ananda Bazar on Srimandir premises soon after priests offer them to the presiding deities. The temple administration does not have the power to fix the prices of Mahaprasad.
The SJTA had decided to fix prices of the Mahaprasad to bring reforms to the 12th century shrine and save the devotees from being fleeced by servitors. The temple administration had announced that it would put up rate charts of Mahaprasad at some strategic places on Srimandir premises.
The shrine administration had facilitated cooking of Mahaprasad separately December 4, last year to estimate the cost of production for the Srimandir delicacies. The SJTA had arranged rice, dal, vegetables, earthen pots and other commodities for the purpose. Some senior officials of the SJTA and representatives of the Suar and Mahasuar Niyog had observed the whole process, sources said.
The temple authorities had declared that they would issue the rate chart on the New Year Day after taking into account the cost of production of Mahaprasad. However, the shrine administration is yet to keep its promise.
It is learnt that the temple administration has fixed prices of Mahaprasad tentatively and provided the rate chart to Suar and Mahasuar servitors for their consideration and necessary suggestions. “We would prepare a final rate chart for Mahaprasad after receiving the suggestions of Suar and Mahasuar servitors. The rate chart would be placed before the Shree Jagannath Temple Managing Committee for its approval,” said an official of the SJTA.
Sources, meanwhile, claimed that the temple authorities are unlikely to issue the rate chart before the elections. “The SJTA is facing a tough task to implement reform measures at Srimandir. There was large scale violence and vandalism in the Holy City when the temple administration introduced queue system for devotees in October, last year. The authorities do not want to bring trouble for the state government by issuing the rate chart,” said a source.
Some insiders claim that the SJTA is in dilemma over the rate chart for Mahaprasad. “Any upward revision of the prices would create resentment among the devotees while Suar and Mahasuar servitors would resist any downward revision. So, the SJTA is in a tight spot over the issue,” they added.