Even though the Odisha government is stressing on compliance to safety protocols in view of the steep rise in Covid-19 cases, all such guidelines were allegedly thrown to wind by thousands of tribals on the concluding day of Bali Yatra festival early this week.
Not only people from Kodinga in Nabarangpur district but villagers from neighbouring Chhattisgarh also reportedly participated in the festival in large numbers. Importantly, all participants allegedly violated the COVID-19 norms on the concluding day of the festival. An alleged video of the festival which has gone viral on social media clearly shows that the attendees flouted all norms and many were seeing roaming around without masks and face cover.
It is also alleged that all temporary shops and other stalls remained opened till 9 pm during the festivities. Mostly the stalls selling toys, bangles and other articles allegedly remained open till late in the night.
The festival had started in March this year and the concluding day was attended by people from the various tribal communities. Despite such alleged violation of Covid-19 norms, neither Police nor the local administration had any clue about the irregularities and health hazard.
When contacted, Kodinga Tehsildar Siba Prasad Patnaik said that he was not aware of the development. “I am yet to get any information about this. I will speak to the local police for details. The organisors will be fined if the Covid-19 guidelines were violated,” said Patnaik.