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Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Cuttack, Nov 3:

Doubts have been cast over the holding of the famous Bali Jatra in Odisha’s Millenium City-Cuttack, following National Green Tribunal (NGT’s) show cause notice to district administration over holding of the trade fair on the banks of river Mahanadi.

Baliyatra
Baliyatra 2013 kicks off

The NGT has directed the district administration to refrain from dumping of construction debris solid waste and encroachment on the bed of the Mahanadi river.

Following the development, the district administration which had started booking for allotment of site for erection of stalls for the grand annual event on Tuesday last, halted it yesterday, while it is examining the option to move the Orissa High Court on the matter.

“The NGT has instructed against allotment of sites for stalls and to file show cause within a week. We file show cause on that. The district administration is examining the matter. This function is a heritage function which is connected with the sentiments of residents of Cuttack. We will surely try to find out some way. We are also examining legal options. If we get favourable order, Bali Jatra will be held,” informed Cuttack Collector Nirmal Chandra Mishra.

On the other hand, Cuttack Nrutyautsav Committee today filed a writ petition in the Orissa High Court challenging NGT’s jurisdiction over Tala Padia.

Tala Padia where Bali Jatra is organized does not come under the jurisdiction of NGT,” informed lawyer Ashok Mohapatra.

It is worth mentioning here that NGT has issued show cause notices to Cuttack Collector, Water Resources Secretary and Chief Secretary to reply within seven days over the holding o Bali Jatra on the river beds of Mahanadi and Kathajodi.

Earlier, the NGT had directed the district administration to abstain from filling the river bed, dumping of debris and encroachment of the river embankment. Now the NGT has issued show cause over holding of Bali Jatra on the river bed.

With only 11 days left for the annual event to begin on November 14, doubts have been raised over the holding of the heritage event. Only 45 sites for erection of stalls were booked on the first day of booking. Booking has been suspended till further orders from NGT.

Uncertainty over holding of the Bali Jatra has caused severe resentment among the traders and residents of Cuttack as well.