Mrunal Manmay Dash

After enthralling lakhs of visitors, the historic Bali Yatra in Cuttack has finally come to an end. However, a controversy has now erupted with corporators of the Bharatiya Janata party (BJP), Congress, and even the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) alleging corruption in organising the annual fair.

As per reports, the two temporary gates (welcome arch) made with bamboo and other materials installed at Bell View Square and Telengapentha have been estimated at Rs 32 lakh. Similarly, the laser show at Bali Yatra, which was of so poor quality that it could only run for the first two days, has been billed at Rs 96 lakh.

“The kind of gates the CMC has erected at two places should have cost only Rs 4 lakh. But they have spent Rs 32 lakh for two gates. This is preposterous. Rs 96.7 lakh was spent on the laser light show. But it could run for only two days out of the nine days of Bali Yatra. There has been a huge corruption and it should be probed,” alleged Congress Corporator, Santosh Bhola.

Similarly, BJP Corporator Gagan Ojha said, “The Mayor is clueless about the huge amount of money spent in Bali Yatra. Not only in gates and laser show but there are many areas where more money than required has been spent, making it a mega corruption. The CMC Commissioner and Mayor are responsible for this.”

Even a BJD corporator expressed his displeasure over the corruption and mismanagement during Bali Yatra this year. “We do not feel that works have been done as per the tenders floated for the Bali Yatra. While work was done at Rs 1.66 crore last year, how can the same work by the same vendor cost Rs 3.32 crore?” questioned BJD corporator, Pradipta Kishore Khuntia.

While the Corporators of Congress and BJD have demanded a vigilance probe into this, the BJP corporators have demanded a CBI probe.

However, Cuttack Mayor Subash Singh denied all the allegations and said, “There is no corruption in Bali Yatra. We did not want to spend money on decorations. No bills have been approved so far. A committee has been formed to probe the allegations. I do not want to comment on baseless allegations,” said Singh.

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