Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Cuttack, Nov 25:
On the occasion of Kartik Purnima, Odisha’s largest trade and commerce fair ‘Bali Yatra’ today began on the banks of Mahanandi River at Cuttack. The festival was inaugurated by Finance Minister Pradeep Amat this evening.
The week-long festival, literally meaning a voyage to Bali, serves as a reminder of ancient maritime trade of Odisha and draws hundreds of thousands of visitors from across the state and beyond.
Adequate preparations have been made by the administration to ensure a successful and peaceful fair. The Killa field and the banks of the river have been prepared to accommodate the visitors. 1500 commercial stalls have been set up in a 50 acre of land in both upper and lower fields for traders to sell their products and services. Administration has identified eight parking lots near the Bali Yatra ground for vehicle parking of visitors.
The district administration, CMC (Cuttack Municipal Corporation), commissionerate police, CESU (Central Electricity Supply Utility) and the fire services department have been kept on alert to ensure smooth delivery of services all through the festival.
Cultural programmes by artists from Odisha and outside have been organised to keep the visitors entertained at the Baishanb Pani Mandap. At least two dozen troupes are expected to perform during the festival.
To maintain law and order, the commissionerate police would keep a close watch on anti-social elements through CCTVs placed at various locations of the venue. Over 21 PCR vans, motorcycle patrolling units along with armed police would be pressed into service to avoid any untoward incident. A special squad would monitor the hotels and lodges and watch the movements of suspicious entities.
Besides, a team of anti-terrorist squad of the police, anti-sabotage team and bomb units have been deployed along with two units of the SOG (Special Operations Group) to deal with any crisis at the festival ground. 43 platoons of cops have been deployed for crowd and traffic management and more than 300 officers will be on patrol inside the fair.