Bali Yatra traders shun plot allocation process; preparations halted

Cuttack: With the historic ‘Bali Yatra’ festival in Cuttack just a week away, preparations came to a halt today after another dispute erupted between the traders’ association and district administration here. Reason, the association has shunned the plot allocation process for setting up stalls, alleging the administration of acting as per its whims and fancies.

“First, the administration overcharged plot rates for stalls. Then again, they said that one form can be utilised for only one plot. Without prior notification, they are altering rules very frequently and this has become a big bother for us,” alleged the secretary of the traders’ association, Sukant Mohanty.

Not only the local traders, but the dealers who have come from other neighbouring States also seemed discontent with the changing attitude of the administration.

“They are asking us to keep the goods away from the stalls. Hardly a few days are left, how will we manage? I have brought goods worth over Rs 60,000. The vehicle has been stationed at a far away place since last three days. If we are not allowed to set up stalls, what can we do? We will return,” stated Ramesh Pal, a Kolkata-based dealer.

Meanwhile, the traders who had registered themselves have now threatened to step back, by not showing keenness to set up stalls any more. The allocation counter is also lying vacant.

“The management process has not been properly dealt with as it used to be in the earlier years. The work should ideally have begun at least seven days prior to the Bali Yatra. With the amount of time left, it is quite an impossible task for the decorators to complete the work, said Rabi Das, a tent house trader.

Though the allocation process is still incomplete, the administration seems confident that the problem will be resolved after a discussion with the traders’ association.

Sanjay Pratihari, Cuttack Sadar Tehsildar said, “The administration is of the opinion that there should be some space near the stalls for free movement of people. Keeping this in mind, we have left 30-ft empty spaces before food stalls. Nothing has been delayed. And you will see everything will run smoothly.”

This year, the Bali Yatra festival, beginning November 23, will be held for 11 days instead of seven days.