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Odishatv Bureau

Cuttack: The annual ‘Balijatra’ festival was inaugurated today by Health and Law Minister Pratap Jena at Gadagadia ghat here on the banks of river Mahanadi.

The week-long famous fair on an area of 30 acres on the river bank will continue till November 10. It got the nod from east zone bench of National Green Tribunal for the second time this year.

"We will ensure that the festival would in no way pollute or block the free-flow of river water", said Cuttack Municipal Corporation, Commissioner, Bikash Mohapatra.

"Over one lakh revelers thronged the fair grounds on the inaugural day and we expect the festival would witness footfall of over three lakh revellers every day", said the newly appointed DCP Traffic Srikrushna Sasmal.

Like every year, the twin fair grounds having over 300 makeshift stalls are showcasing ethnic household items ranging from wearing apparels to decorative stuffs.

The Commissionerate Police have made elaborate arrangements to maintain law and order during the festival.

Also Read: Bali Jatra, now a one-stop destination for foodies

DCP City Akhileswar Singh said around 50 platoons (one platoon comprise 30 personnel) of armed police, including quick action team, anti-liquor squad, anti sabotage and anti terrorists squads will be deployed in and around the festival grounds.

Jena was accompanied by Sports minister Chandra Sarathi Behera and city mayor Meenakshi Behera.

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