Chaudals stand tall amid the crowd at Tusu Mela at Gopal Maidan, Bistupur, on Tuesday. Picture by Bhola Prasad
Traffic went haywire at the commercial hub of Bistupur on Tuesday afternoon, thanks to nearly 50,000 people who turned up to witness a grand Tusu Mela at Gopal Maidan.
Chaotic snarls began from around 3pm and continued for over three hours on almost all thoroughfares leading to the Bistupur roundabout.
Among the worst affected was Kharkai Link Road, which is dotted with educational institutions like St Mary’s English High School, Ram Krishna Mission High School and Jamshedpur Women’s College. The artery links Bistupur with Adityapur industrial area and witnesses passage of over 1 lakh vehicles daily.
Stretches of Sakchi-Bistupur Main Road from Tata Steel General Office to Bistupur Postal Park and Inner Circle Road connecting Bistupur with Kadma and Sonari suffered chronic jams too.
“I had to walk from Tata Steel General Office gate to Hotel Boulevard (a distance of over 800 metres) to get an auto-rickshaw to my Jugsalai home, as the entire stretch was clogged with traffic,” said Ritesh Mohan, a software professional at Tata Steel.
East Singhbhum traffic DSP R.M. Sinha admitted to the problems but expressed helplessness. “We tried everything to streamline traffic during the Tusu function. Traffic diversion was carried out and heavy vehicles coming from Mango to Bistupur were asked to take a detour through Marine Drive and Kharkai bridge. But, despite our best efforts, we could not prevent snarls,” rued the DSP.
The Tusu festivities organised by Jharkhand Vasi Ekta Manch drew tribals from Seraikela-Kharsawan, West Singhbhum, East Singhbhum and as far as Purulia in Bengal and Mayurbhanj in Odisha.
Chief minister Hemant Soren, who was scheduled to attend the fair, could not arrive due to pressing engagements.
Earlier in the day, former chief minister Arjun Munda played tribal instrument madal along with Baharagora MLA Bidyut Baran Mahto, while former deputy chief minister and JMM leader Sudhir Mahto sang a tribal song to huge applause from the crowd.
Munda also released a music CD comprising Jhummar songs of Santosh Mahto, while flute player Shrikant Mahto mesmerised the audience.
Guests were served tribal delicacies like gur pitha in leaf bowls. Winners of chaudal (a bamboo structure 40-60ft high worshipped as a symbol of happiness) and Tusu idol competitions were given cash prizes. Manoj Kumar Mahanta from Mayurbhanj was adjudged first in Tusu idol-making contest and won Rs 31,000. Kartik Mahanta from Bahalda in Odisha finished second to pocket Rs 21,000. In chaudal competition, Kashish Bera of Chandil finished at the top to win Rs 25,000, while Raja Bera of Nimdih came second to bag Rs 15,000.
Santhal dance form Budhi Gadi Nach was also performed on the occasion.