Cassian Baliarsingh

The capital city is all set to host the famous Khandagiri Mela which was discontinued for two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This year, the 10-day fair at the twin hills of Khandagiri and Udayagiri will begin on January 28 and continue till February 10.

The Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) is rolling up its sleeves to organise the fair and will soon prepare a Standard Operation Procedure (SOP) for the smooth conduct of the annual event. BMC Mayor Sulochana Das chaired a preparatory meeting recently and issued fresh guidelines for opera groups, stall owners and visitors.

As per the decision, opera groups have to make sure that the names of their plays do not hurt anyone’s sentiments. The plays should not include any form of sexual, intimate, or instigating dance moves. The dance parties have been refrained from using high volume by the BMC.

Furthermore, the opera owners have been advised to engage security guards and volunteers to safeguard their actors. The ogranisers of opera shows have also been advised to install CCTV cameras to check on anti-social elements. All the opera party owners, vendors and stall owners are required to obtain NOC from BMC, police and fire department well ahead of time.

On the other hand, BMC has identified three places to offer parking facilities to visitors. It will fix the parking fees and display the price at the parking lots. Moreover, the BMC has also strictly prohibited the use of polythene.

However, this year only five opera groups have been given permission to stage their plays due to lack of space.

“We have given permission to only five opera groups due to lack of space. Moreover, our focus is on parking spaces to avoid any kind of traffic congestion. Parking on roads is a big NO,” informed Bhubaneswar Mayor.

“This year, I am sure that there will be no nuisances. We have CCTV cameras installed and have appointed bouncers and volunteers to ensure the smooth run of plays. Police are also cooperating with us,” said Pramod Kumar Barik, opera organiser.

“Operas should avoid sexualising women during their plays. They should strictly avoid nudity and illicit acts on the stage. Rest, they should make sure people enjoy it to the fullest,” said a local.