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Sannidhata – Officer Of Stores And Treasury In Arthashastra

Sannidhata is a term used by Kautilya in his Arthashastra for a functionary in government. The etymological meaning of the word is “close at hand”. Scholars translate the term as chamberlain, director of stores and treasurer. A sannidhata used to be in charge of receiving the forest products for preservation, gems and articles in the presence of the concerned expert, and was competent to receive the new harvest produce.

Sannidhata was responsible for building the treasury, the warehouse, the magazine, the store for the forest produce, the armory and the prison house. At the border, he was expected to build a secret permanent treasury as a provision against any calamity, with the help of prisoners sentenced to capital punishment.

The treasury was usually the shape of an underground well. The prison house was to be constructed with an underground cellar to serve as an armory, and had separate prison houses for those convicted by the courts, punished by high officials and punished by the king.

Sannidhata had to include separate apartments for women and men. He had to take precautionary measures to protect the buildings from fire and other natural calamities. Along with this, the buildings were to have good sanitary facilities. He was assigned the duty of building separate places of worship for people with different faiths, and was supposed to keep a record of accounts for one hundred years.