Balijatra starts today, old currency notes exchange counters set up


Cuttack: The historical Balijatra along the banks of river Mahanadi will begin today. Almost all the preparations are in the last phase. The inauguration will take place with a cultural opening ceremony to be graced by important dignitaries.

Earlier in the morning today people thronged the Gadagadia ghat to celebrate Boita Bandan Festival and prepare for Balijatra which is scheduled to kick off in the evening.

The week long festival which begins from the full moon day of the holy Kartik month of Odia calendar attracts tourists, festival lovers from all around the state.

All this while preparedness for this year’s event has slackened a bit due to multifarious problems first of all the NGT clearance controversy and then followed by demonetization issue raked up by the Centre has delayed preparations raising doubts over a better festive mood that should prevail during this week long jubilation. Stall bookings are yet not completed. Barring ORMAS all other private and government agencies are yet to set up their stalls completely as works are still in progress.

To assist people get over this demonitisation jinx and fare merriment times during the festival the administration has decided to set up old currency notes exchange counters and to attract more businesses and customer satisfaction. Since the demonisitaion issue made pockets getting tighter due to lack of funds available such a step could really work out as a good strategy.  Noted nationalized banks like SBI, UCO, BOI have all said to open up customer service counters to exchange old currency notes as per regulations fixed by RBI.

To ensure law and order situation, the district administration has deployed 50 platoons of police personnel and as many as 300 officers. Similarly to keep an eye on crowd control and prevent any untoward incident 30 CCTVs has been installed at various sensitive spots along with 35 Aid-posts opened up, Cuttack DCP Sanjeeb Arora said.

SOGs, ATS squad, bomb diffusion squad will be included along with watch towers which will also keep an eye on any misconducts. With the festive zone divided into six sectors separate traffic systems on place and seven parking spots have also been designed. Makeshift kiosks will not be allowed to tender in the fest without license so a separate vending zones have been set up behind ORMAS.

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