Funds given to Sarathi: Govt

The state government today admitted in the Assembly that Rs 15.4 lakh was sanctioned for two Sarathi temples and one Sarathi community centre from the MLA Local Area Development (MLALAD) Fund between 2010-11 and 2013-14.

By Lelin Kumar Mallick and Subrat Das in Bhubaneshwar
  • Published 27.08.15
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Bhubaneswar, Aug. 26: The state government today admitted in the Assembly that Rs 15.4 lakh was sanctioned for two Sarathi temples and one Sarathi community centre from the MLA Local Area Development (MLALAD) Fund between 2010-11 and 2013-14.

The two BJD MLAs, who had recommended for the release of funds are the then MLA from Aul, Pratap Keshari Deb, and Patkura MLA Bedprakash Agrawal. The government also said Agrawal had recommended that the Sarathi ashram in Kendrapara be declared as a tourist spot.

Planning and co-ordination minister Usha Devi today said that in separate instalments Rs 15 lakh were provided from the MLALAD Fund to renovate the Thakur Srimad Sarathi temple and a Sarathi community centre in 2010-13.

In 2011-12, Rs 40,000 was sanctioned from the fund for repair of the Sarathi mandir at Kharidasahi in the Patkura Assembly constituency, she said.

Deb said there was a large following of Sarathi in his Assembly constituency. "People of Patrapur and Bharatpur had approached me for release of funds for construction of a community centre at Bharatpur. I had recommended for it. However, they later named the community centre after Sarathi," Deb told The Telegraph. Agrawal said he had recommended funds in his constituency as it was a demand of the local people.

In response to another question, tourism and culture minister Ashok Chandra Panda said that present Patkura MLA Agrawal had recommended declaring Sarathi ashram as a tourist spot.

He said the MLA, district collector, local panchayat samiti chairperson and others had recommended a proposal last year. "However, the tourism spot status was not accorded to the ashram as it did not fulfil the conditions laid down in the guidelines," said Panda.

Agrawal said: "The local representatives had brought a copy of the representation. It had just forwarded it."

In a related incident, valuables worth Rs 4 lakh, including gold ornaments and four silver lockets carved with face of Sarathi, were recovered from a slum at Kharavela Nagar.

Though the police suspected that the stolen articles were related to a robbery in a house in the city few days ago, it did not rule out the possibility of Sarathi link in the seizure of the valuables.

"We are trying to ascertain the source of the valuables and find out the possibility of Sarathi's link," said police commissioner R.P. Sharma.

The crime branch, which is probing the Sarathi case, had seized gold weighing around 54 grams from Sarathi ashram in Kendrapara on August 8, and it was alleged that Sarathi had disposed of gold ornaments by the time the investigating agency reached the spot.

Both Sarathi and his adopted son Satyam have been lodged in the Central jail at Choudwar. Today, the sub-divisional judicial magistrate allowed the crime branch petition for producing them in court through videoconferencing on September 2.