Srimandir Parikrama Project: Devotees Show Unhappiness Over ‘Unused’ Arpan Rath Collected Rice & Betel Nut


Puri, Jan 18, TBN : Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik inaugurated the Srimandir Parikrama Project, amid the chants of hymns by the priests here on Wednesday in the presence of Puri king Gajapati Dibyasingha Deb and lakhs of devotees.

However, a large number of devotees, who had thronged the holy city from across the state, expressed unhappiness as the rice and betel nuts collected through the ‘Arpan Rath’ programme for the inauguration ceremony of the heritage corridor did not reach the Srimandir.

The devotees alleged that quintals and quintals of arua rice and betel nuts collected through Arpan Rath have been lying unused at local temples and godowns at many places in the State.

The State government has spent crores of rupees in rolling out Arpan Raths in villages across the State to collect rice and betel nuts from devotees. It has been said that the Arpan Rath programme is an initiative to advance the transformation of rural Odisha and promote the rich Jagannath culture on a global scale.

However, the Arpan Rath programme was carried out to promote the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) as the photos of the ruling party leaders were fixed in bigger size than that of Lord Jagannath’s photo, said a devotee.

On the other hand, Puri Gajapati Maharaj recently clarified that the Arpan Rath programme has nothing to do with Srimandir.

Opposition BJP and Congress lawmakers also targeted the State government over the issue.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA Suryavanshi Suraj said, “Devotees with a great devotion to Lord Jagannath had donated rice and betel nuts for the inauguration ceremony of Srimandir Parikrama Project. The collected rice and betel nuts should not be misused, hurting the sentiments of Odia people.”

Senior Congress MLA Sura Routray came down heavily on the state government and said, “ The State government allocated Rs 2 lakh to each panchayat to roll out the Arpan Rath programme. The government machinery was engaged to promote the ruling party in the name of Lord Jagannath.”

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