Baripada: The Jagannath temple in Baripada town, popularly known as the second Shrikshetra, has special importance in the state as the chariot of Goddess Subhadra here is pulled by women devotees.
Work on the construction of the chariots has begun for the Rath Yatra which is scheduled to be held July 5. But the servitors involved in the chariot work are not happy with the way the administration is handling it. Their main complaint is about delay in getting wood for making the chariots and if last year’s logs are used, there are chances of mishaps occurring.
Rath Mohapatra and Mrutyunjay Mohapatra, who are in charge of construction of the chariots, told Orissa Post that the ‘sal’ timber logs that are used every year for the construction of chariots have not been given to them so far. Despite several complaints made to the endowment department and the local administration, nothing has happened, the servitors alleged.
Reportedly, the servitors have started chariot constriction with the leftover wood of the previous year. According to sources, nearly 5,000 cubic feet of wood is needed every year for the construction of chariots. The chariots of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Goddess Subhadra will have 16, 14 and 12 wheels respectively.
Furthermore, during the Nabakalebara of the deities, out of 42 wheels in total, only 22 new wheels were constructed. In such a situation where old wheels are in poor condition, the local administration washes off its hands saying that old wheels will be reused this year.
It is worthy to note, lakhs of devotees from across the state and outside visit this place during Rath Yatra. As there will be a huge congregation here, the occurrence of any kind of mishap should be avoided. The servitors have also warned, the condition of the Grand Road is such that chariots may not move smoothly.
The servitors have also expressed their woes over the payment of remuneration. As the Rath Yatra festival is approaching, more than 40 artisans are working day and night to speed up the construction work.
Even if there is a provision for paying a daily wage of Rs 500 to each artisan, they are being paid Rs 350 instead. It is also alleged that they are paid irregularly.