The expert panel to decide on the security, inventory and opening the kallara (vault) ‘B' in the Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple in Thiruvananthapuram has informed the Supreme Court that it would take a year to complete the entire exercise and a total sum of Rs. 2.98 crore was required to meet all the expenses on videography, photography, providing infrastucture and strengthening security cover.

A Bench of Justice R.V. Raveendran and Justice A.K. Patnaik on September 2 asked the Supreme Court Registry to give copies of the 75-page report submitted by the panel to the court to the parties concerned for their response and posted the matter for further hearing on September 12.

The court had appointed the panel on July 21 to examine whether there was a need to open the secret vault B; to organise inventory of all valuables and take videography and photography; to examine which articles could be used for regular use in the temple and which could be kept for public view; to draw a long term plan for maintenance of the valuables, and to prepare a security scheme.

The panel, in its interim report, said that regarding the opening of kallara ‘B', a devaprasnam was conducted and the kallara ‘B' was not opened; further orders from the court were awaited in this regard. The panel, however, said that the opening of kallara ‘B' was required to ascertain the quantity and quality of the items stored inside, for inventory management, for ascertaining security measures, and for documentation of all artefacts/treasure items.

The panel said it had proposed to take 3D pictures of the items in all the kallaras. Since the jewellery were being stored in iron boxes, there was a possibility of corrosion, and these items were required to be put in wooden boxes. Further, the jewels put in plastic pouches should be removed and stored in a better manner.

The panel wanted the court to appoint a gold purity analyser for valuation of gold jewellery. It wanted a digital mechanism put in place for the jewellery. For security, it wants surveillance through closed circuit televisions, and for this purpose, it wanted an LCD TV installed.

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