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New gate welcomes visitors at fair site

The welcome gate at the Bali yatra site has been designed in the form of a boat. Picture by Badrika Nath Das

Cuttack, Nov. 28: The Bali yatra festival got off to a colourful start here this morning with hundreds of kiosks pulling visitors right from the time the gates were opened. Merry-go-rounds and giant wheels as well as various cultural programmes are other highlights of the fair.

Chief minister Naveen Patnaik inaugurated the fair. He also threw open the new permanent welcome gate, which has been constructed at the Bali yatra site by the Cuttack Municipal Corporation. Built at a cost of Rs 50 lakh, the gate has been designed in the form of a large boat to highlight the state’s rich maritime tradition.

The fair has been insured for Rs 4 crore. For the first time, the district administration has built a pavilion to include kiosks selling products made by differently-abled people.

Miniature boats made of paper and thermocol cover portions of Bindusagar lake in Bhubaneswar. Every year, the Boita Bandana celebrations expose rivers and water bodies to a grave pollution threat, with tonnes of non-biodegradable
waste scattered all over them. According to environmentalists, the real cause of concern is the use of thermocol, plastic and coloured papers with lead-based paints in making the boats. Picture by Ashwinee Pati

More than 300 kiosks to sell ethnic and rural crafts from different states across country have come up at the Pallishree Mela organised by the panchayati raj department’s Odisha Rural Development and Marketing Society.

“A number of kiosks are also selling popular Odisha dishes such as alu dum, dahi vada, thunka puri, Baripada’s mudhi mutton, manda pitha, chena poda and rasabali,” said district sub-collector J.P. Das.

Gandhi Shilp Bazar, which offers a range of crafts items, is one of the major attractions of the fair.