NGT-appointed expert visits controversial Bali Yatra ground

Cuttack: An expert from National Green Tribunal (NGT), Sudhakar Patri, visited Cuttack to examine the lower Bali Yatra ground on the Mahanadi river bed on Monday.

Patri, who examined the Tala Padia (lower ground), will later submit a report on the matter to the NGT. During his visit to the city, Collector Nirmal Chandra Mishra and other officials of the district administration were present.

Notably, the NGT had earlier imposed restriction on the conduct of Bali Yatra on the banks of river Mahanadi in view of pollution of the river. Besides it had ordered the district administration to refrain from filling the river bed, dumping of debris and encroachment of the river embankment triggering discontentment among the traders as well as the district administration.

Patri also pointed out that there have been many such occasions where either huge environmental compensation is imposed or else the tribunal prohibits such festivals that tend to hamper the ecology of the river system. He further asked the government to ensure that the river water does not get polluted due to the festival and also directed that there can be no temporary or permanent construction at the site. The tribunal however had issued clearance on November 4 last year for holding of the historic event.