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Bidhannagar Mela starts

Bidhannagar Mela (Utsav) is back. Salt Lake’s favourite fair was inaugurated at Central Park on Monday and will continue till February 5.

The fair has brought clothes, accessories, crockery and a whole lot of home decor items. A jute pavilion houses stalls selling bags, slippers, jewellery and wall hangings — all made of the golden fibre. The wall hangings are of sceneries and birds and have been given a 3D effect. “Our items gets exported to Kuwait,” says Narayan Hazra of Tamluk, showing his largest wall hanging — a framed 3ft tall eagle that costs Rs 5,000.

Besides stalls selling saris, kurtis and shawls, there is one from Jaipur exclusively selling wraparounds for women of all ages. The smallest ones are only nine inches long, for one-year olds, and cost Rs 100 while those for adults cost around Rs 400. “We use vegetable dye for the colours,” says vendor Rakesh Kumaut, who has done away with plastic and gives attractive cloth bags to take the items home.

There are stalls selling lamp shades adorned with coloured and stained glass, and antique shops that are selling restored gramophones and candlestick telephones of yesteryear. “You can plug your landline wires into these phones and they’re good to use,” promises vendor Gaji Saroar. The phone costs Rs 2,000.

The ever popular churan, pickle and papad stalls have set shop too. “This year’s new varieties include phuchka papad and onion papad,” smiles vendor Madan Nandi. The flat phuchka papad is said to expand to the size of a regular roadside phuchka when fried. “One can munch them with dal-bhat or put potatoes in it and have like phuchkas.”

Stalls from Egypt (selling brass figurines of Cleopatra), Pakistan (selling onyx items) and Bangladesh (selling saris) have been coming to the fair for years. This year’s latest entrants are Burma, Malayasia and China. Their stalls however were not up even on Tuesday.

There is also a play area for children and a food corner and cultural programmes will take place every evening. Besides talent from within the township, there will be artistes like Sahoj Ma, Swagatalakshmi Dasgupta, Tanushree Shankar, Indrani Dutta, Riddhi Bandopadhyay taking stage. A fashion show by Agnimitra Paul and jatra starring Rachana Banerjee are also on the anvil.

The fair is open from 2pm to 9pm and entry is free.

On the stage

Flower show: January 18

Women’s day (competitions for women): January 20

Senior citizen’s day (competitions for the elderly): January 24

Children’s Day (competitions for children): January 27

Dog show (at the municipal sports complex): February 3

For details, contact the fair office