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Odishatv Bureau

Cuttack: The decision of the Cuttack district administration to hike the rates for plots by Rs 2 per sqft for setting up temporary shops during the historic Bali Jatra festival is being vehemently opposed by traders.

As a result, the plot allotment process is completely stalled with local traders’ association demanding immediate rollback of the decision.

Official sources said the administration has increased the price for plot allotment by Rs 2 per sqft after a gap of one year. Besides, the traders have also been asked to pay Rs 4 extra towards user fee and other expenses.

“We want the administration to withdraw the increased rates so as to provide opportunity to a number of traders to set up stalls during Bali Jatra,” said Kishore Dash, a trader.

Senior officials of district administration on the other hand claimed that they are ready to slash the rates by 50 paisa per sqft which is not accepted by the traders association.

“The revised rates being collected is nominal as we are incurring extra costs towards establishment and making other arrangements for the week-long festival that draws lakhs of visitors from across the State,” said Cuttack Tensildar, Sanjibata Ray.

Over 1,200 stalls are expected to come up at Bali Jatra which is held in nearly 37-acre land including 23-acre near Mahanadi embankment and 14-acre at Kila Maidan in Cuttack.

Earlier in 2016, the NGT had clamped restriction on hosting the fair at Mahanadi river embankment side which led to resentment among traders especially various self help groups (SHGs).

However, the Tribunal then allowed the administration after the latter filed a petition stating that the fair is being hosted on alluvial land instead of the river bed.

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