Mrunal Manmay Dash

Khordha: Concerned over the surge of COVID-19 cases in other States, the district administration of Khordha on Saturday night closed down a jatra party for staging shows without permission at Begunia.

As per reports, a jatra party named Ranga Mahal was performing at Begunia when the police, after getting a complaint, played spoilsport and shut it down.

Sources said, the jatra party arrived at Begunia on February 19, 2021 and staged its first show on the same night. However, following a fresh order by the State government to enforce strict implementation of COVID guidelines, a team led by the Tehsildar of Begunia and accompanied by the police shut it down on the second day, February 20, 2021.

It was also found that the jatra party was performing without a permission from the administration.

Speaking about the clamp down, District Collector of Khordha, Sanat Kumar Mohanty said, "After getting a complaint about a jatra party operating without permission, I directed the IIC of police station to intervene. After reaching there, we found that it was operating without permission indeed and no social distancing was being maintained there."

"They can be allowed to perform the show if they apply for the same following due process. However, they will have to adhere to COVID guidelines laid out by the Government of Odisha," said Mohanty.

In addition to this, Mohanty has also directed all the field officers to keep a close vigil on social gatherings and enforce the COVID guidelines strictly.

It is worthwhile to mention here that the jatra artistes on Saturday had threatened to launch ‘fast on to death’ agitation near Odisha Assembly from February 22 seeking permission from the State government to allow them to organise jatra with 2,000 spectators.

Though the State government has allowed staging of jatra with 500 audiences, the jatra artistes claim that it is not enough to run shows and earn a decent living with such crowd.

(Edited By Rashmi Ranjan Mohanty)