Mrunal Manmay Dash

While the visitors continue to enjoy the food along with shopping at Bali Yatra in Cuttack, the congestion of mobile networks in the area has dampened the mood of many excited fairgoers.

The situation is so dire that it is nearly impossible to talk on mobile phones once you enter the Bali Yatra ground, let alone the internet. Due to lack of adequate mobile towers, mobile phones do not work when so many people gather at the fair ground.

Many visitors have expressed their displeasure over not being able to talk on mobile phones or make digital payment.

“Bali Yatra is a scheduled affair held every year at the same place. The State government is so insensitive that they do not even care to set up some more mobile towers in the area for people to talk to their dear ones in case of emergencies. Network congestion is so severe that if people lose their dear ones, it will not be possible to contact them,” said a disgruntled fairgoer at the Bali Yatra ground.

Meanwhile, the Commissionerate police’ advice to people to make online payments at the fair without bringing cash with them seems to have fallen flat. There are scanner machines for UPI payments but they don't work due to network congestion.

It has affected various stall owners and business establishments at the Bali Yatra after customers are forced to return as they are carrying less money with them hoping to pay digitally.

A small stall owner said, “I cannot do a brisk business as UPI payments are not going through due to a very busy mobile network. People do not carry enough cash in their wallets fearing pick pockets who are roaming in this area. And UPI payments are nearly impossible. How do I do business?”

Concerned authorities could not be contacted for comments in this connection.