The Supreme Court on Thursday made it clear that the issue of opening Kallara ‘B' at Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple would be considered only after the documentation of the artefacts, found in the other five chambers, was completed.
In its order, a Bench of Justices R.V. Raveendran and A.K. Patnaik said, “The issue relating to opening of Kallara ‘B' shall be considered after substantial progress is made in documentation, categorisation, security, preservation, conservation, maintenance and storage relating to the contents in the other Kallaras.”
The Bench said, “The Expert Committee has identified 13 security issues and suggested 16 security measures to be put in place. A copy thereof has already been made available to the State government and the temple administration. The State government has submitted the Security Technical Committee Report, putting forth an integrated and multi-layered security system for the temple, for our perusal. In view of security concerns, we do not propose to extract either the security issues raised or the security measures suggested by the Expert Committee or those proposed by the State government.”
It said: “The State government has submitted that it has the expertise and capability to provide the necessary security measures; and it is ready and willing to provide the same at any cost. It has assured that it would spare no effort or cost to provide the best security cover and has stated that there is no need to indent the service of any central security force like CRPF, as suggested by the Expert Committee, for strengthening the security. Having examined the Security Technical Committee Report, we are satisfied that the State government would be in a position to execute the security plan. There is no need for the State government to requisition the services of any central security agency.”
The order said: “The State government shall take note of the 16 security measures suggested by the Expert Committee and promptly implement the integrated Multi-layered Security System. In implementing the security system, the State government will take note of temple traditions, customs and practices, and accommodate the views of the temple administration as far as possible and feasible.”
It said: “The Expert Committee has suggested ‘Digital archiving of Temple Antiques' (DATA) by Kerala State Electronic Corporation (KELTRON), a government undertaking with technical expertise from Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), a unit of the Department of Space, for implementing the work plan. Having regard to the security concerns and approval of the said agency by the State government, we accept the suggestion that the ‘DATA' work should be executed by the said government undertaking instead of inviting tenders from private agencies.”
On providing funds, the order said, “the Committee has requested for sanction of an interim budget outlay of Rs.2,98,82,000. This will be considered by the State government and appropriate amounts shall be sanctioned and released. The Committee shall ensure that the expenditure is kept to be the minimum and avoid any kind of wasteful expenditure. Having regard to the huge expenditure that is contemplated, the State government shall provide for appropriate accounting/audit assistance so that the fund utilisation is economical, efficient and transparent.”
The court asked the temple administration to contribute Rs.25, 00,000 a year towards the funds required for completing the work plan and for security arrangements.
The Expert Committee may take all necessary steps for preservation and conservation of the contents of Kallaras.
Construction of vault
The temple administration shall identify a suitable space (keeping in view the security concerns and the temple traditions) for construction of a safety vault/storage space as per Reserve Bank of India norms in consultation with the Committee and commence construction without delay.
The court asked the committee to submit another report in three months.