Bali Yatra gets NGT nod with riders

Cuttack: Blowing the lid off the uncertainties over the Bali Yatra, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) Monday allowed the district administration to hold the annual open air trade fair with certain restrictions.
“The district administration shall organise the historical fair at least 50metre away from the Mahanadi riverbank,” the environment watchdog said while hearing a petition expressing concern over rising pollution levels in the riverbed.
The NGT had directed the district administration to ensure a ban on use of polythene material, proper waste management and spreading awareness about maintenance of sanitation and hygiene on the fair ground in and after the fair.
This apart, the district administration would be required to furnish a compliance report with the NGT after the fair, said the order.
According to sources, Biswajit Mohanty, a resident of Cuttack, had approached the NGT alleging a few illegal constructions on the Mahanadi riverbed ahead of the Bali Yatra. Mohanty had informed the NGT the constructions in long run would block the natural path of river and contribute to pollution. These would later affect bio-diversity, the petitioner said. Taking cognisance of the plea, the NGT had served show-cause notices on the state and district administration. Since Bali Yatra is being held near the riverbed, it led to controversies.
According to sources, the seven-day annual trade fair would begin November 4 in which 1,400 temporary stalls are expected to set shops on the upper and lower ground sprawling over 44 acres. The stall will be equipped with dustbins and fire extinguishers.
“Insurance cover will be facilitated for stalls put up by Orissa Rural Development and Marketing Society (ORMAS),” an official of the district administration said, adding CMC, which would maintain cleanliness of the Bali Yatra ground and ensure a two-time tidiness at the ORMAS stalls.

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