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Sharmili Mallick

Berhampur: Even as the State government has allowed the Jatra organisers to hold shows subject to a ceiling of 2,000 persons, the Covid-19 restrictions on the famous 'Danda Nacha' in Berhampur have left the jatra and opera artistes community of the silk city concerned.

The Ganjam district administration on last Tuesday allowed Danda Nacha, religious folk dance amid strict adherence to Covid-19 protocols. Similarly, more than 200 persons cannot assemble at a place during the 21-day festival of penance and there will be no cultural functions and other big celebrations during the festival.

Meanwhile, the artistes of Ganjam who used to participate in the festival with 'Dandua' groups to entertain the people and earned money are a worried lot as they will not be allowed to perform this year.

"Acting is a source of livelihood of my family. My daughter is studying at Koraput medical college and I have taken a loan of Rs 4 lakh for her studies. As functions and theatre shows were prohibited since the last one year, it has become difficult for me to even bear her daily expenditure. If we are not allowed to take part in the 'Danda Nacha' this year, I wonder how will I support my family," said an artiste, Pradip Kumar Sahu.

President of Berhampur Chitralaya Sangha, Dillip Samanatara questioned, "The government had allowed jatras and open theatres with the participation of 2000 people but the decision of the Ganjam district administration to not allow more than 200 people at a time is unfortunate. Recently, a cricket tournament was held in Berhampur where 5000 to 6000 people gathered. If they were safe in this pandemic situation, how can jatras spread the infection," he added.

(Edited By Rashmi Ranjan Mohanty)

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