Silver city is ready for historic Baliyatra

Cuttack: After setting up a filigree pavilion for the first time at the Baliyatra grounds here last year, the district administration is unsure about the same this time and claims that the city filigree traders are not cooperating with the endeavour.

After mounting demands, the organisers set up an AC pavilion with 21 stalls last year to showcase the impeccable fine artistic dexterity of local filigree artisans. "Since the traders are engaged in internal bickering, we are not sure whether the filigree pavilion would come this year or not," district collector Girish S N said.

Briefing mediapersons about the preparations for the historic mega event of the city this year, Girish said in case the traders reach an amicable settlement among themselves, the pavilion would come up. "We are prepared to extend all cooperation. The Baliyatra this year would start from November 10 and officially continue till November 16," he said.

The administration has earmarked three grounds measuring a total of 37.103 acres for the mega festival, including two at Killa Maidan in front of the majestic Barabati fort. The adjacent riverbed close to the ancient river port of Mahanadi at Gadagadia Ghat would also come alive for the festival which would draw curtains to the six-month long puja festivities in the city.

More than 1300 stalls, including 350 stalls of ORMAS and 150 stalls of Gandhi Shilpa Bazar would be set up this year which nearly 900 stalls more than last year. The district administration is likely to generate revenue of Rs 60 lakh towards the land cess and other collections from the stall owners and vendors during the festival.

The entire festival has been insured for a whopping Rs four crore, which includes Rs one crore for the Ormas stalls, sources said adding that all the stalls on the festival ground are insured. Stalls stacked with household ethnic items, `Meena Bazars` with merry-go-round, `maut ka kuan`; giant wheels have all come up at the venues ready to make brisk business. Lakhs of visitors throng the festive site particularly in the evening hours and make wide-range of purchases till late into the night.

The district council of culture is also planning in a big way to stage cultural nights on all days of the festival on a massive open-air stage. "At least 52 local troupes, including a troupe from Bangladesh will perform during this festival," council member Prof Kartik Rath said.