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Odia food big hit at Bali yatra

Cuttack, Dec. 2: A food fair dedicated to authentic Odia cuisine is offering special dishes from various parts of the state at this year’s Bali yatra.

Organised for the first time at the national-level Pallishree mela, the food fair is drawing a huge crowd. The fair has been organised by the state panchayati raj department’s Odisha Rural development And Marketing Society.

Kendrapara’s famous rasabali, Dhenkanal’s biri-bara, Cuttack’s dahibara and Baripada’s mudhi mutton are the most popular dishes among visitors.

“Various Odia delicacies are available at 10 kiosks at Pallishree mela and it is a great opportunity for visitors to taste all these dishes at one place,” said Radhamohan Swain, a visitor.

However, some visitors have expressed dissatisfaction because the kiosks concerned are not being able to cater to their requirements with their stocks finishing by 8pm.

Around five lakh visitors came to the Bali yatra ground yesterday and the turnout is likely to cross eight lakh by tomorrow.

“We had not anticipated such response from the people and were not prepared for such a large gathering. However, we have decided to increase the quantity of our products from today,” said Sudarshan Das, a vendor.

Keeping in view the large number of visitors to this food pavilion, the organisers are thinking of increasing the number of kiosks next year.

The Pallishree mela is also offering a wide range of handicrafts and other ethnic rural crafts from 24 states of the country.

“During Bali yatra, we get an opportunity to buy a wide range of handicrafts and other products at a single place,” said Saudamini Pradhan, another visitor.

The Pallishree mela is being organised on a 1.25lakh sqft area against one lakh sqft last year. A record sale of Rs 80 lakh was registered yesterday and the figure is expected to cross Rs one crore by tomorrow evening.

“Last year the total business stood at Rs eight crore and so far the sales figure have crossed Rs two crores in the last three days. We hope to register a record sale at Bali yatra this year,” said Ormas chief executive (Cuttack unit) Bipin Rout.

Rout said that around 350 kiosks selling brass and metal products from Madhya Pradesh, woollen items from Kashmir, leather products and dyed textiles from Rajasthan and incense from Karnataka and Mysore besides handicrafts from Odisha are seen at the Pallishree mela.