Rashmi Rekha Das

The historic Bali Yatra, which was organised after a hiatus of two years owing to Covid restriction, was a grand success this year. It ended on a high note. Traders and other artisans made a brisk business at Bali Yatra by selling items worth over Rs 200 crore. 

Though the fair concluded with fanfare, the fairground has turned into garbage yard as the Cuttack Municipal Corporation (CMC) and the district administration are yet to clean the Bali Yatra ground. 

As obvious, this is creating an unhealthy environment with waste material strewn across the ground. Tons of garbage is now lying on the ground much to the inconvenience of public and animals. Both the district administration and CMC are now being criticised for their alleged failure to clean the Bali Yatra ground. 

Though 15 days have passed to the culmination of the maritime festival, the administration is yet to clean the Bali Yatra Lower Ground, alleged locals. 

The fair has left behind piles of garbage including a huge amount of non bio-degradable plastic waste. So much so that it has also left behind the remnants of kiosks and their daily waste, rued a local. 

It may be mentioned that before the commencement of Bali Yatra, it faced a jolt from the National Green Tribunal. Sources said, the NGT imposed restrictions on the Bali Yatra for which the Cuttack district administration had reclaimed an area of around 426 acres of the Mahanadi riverbed.

While allowing holding of Bali Yatra festival on 34 acres of land, the tribunal had asked the administration to ensure proper sanitation and hygiene. Besides, it had strictly instructed the administration to take adequate steps to clean the ground following the conclusion of the fair.

“More than 10 days have elapsed to the grand extravaganza but neither the district administration nor CMC has taken any step to clean the premises,” said Soubhagya Mohapatra, a Cuttack resident. 

Pradeep Patnaik, an advocate said, "The garbage is stinking like anything and creating health hazard. As the district administration and the CMC are not paying any heed to clean the garbage even after so many days of Bali Yatra, we have filed a complaint to draw the attention of the High Court in this regard."  

When contacted, CMC Mayor said, “We are accumulating garbage at one place so that it will be easier to load and transport in trucks. The civic body will clean the fairground at the earliest.”