Cuttack: Odisha’s historic Bali Yatra, linked to the maritime history of Kalinga, began on the banks of Mahanadi river here Tuesday amid tight security.
The event was inaugurated by state Information and Public Relations Minister Pradeep Amat.
The nine-day event is among the most famous fairs in the coastal Odisha region.
Enthusiasm was palpable among locals who attended the event after two years’ gap due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
A 19-year-old trader from Bihar, identified as Mohammad Irshad, drowned while taking bath in Mahandi river. He had come to open a stall.
The Cuttack district administration, Cuttack Municipal Corporation and Bhubaneswar-Cuttack Commissionerate of Police made several arrangements to ensure smooth conduct of the event.
Commissioner of Police S K Priyadarshi said around 1,500 personnel have been deployed.
The officer said at least 20 police aid posts and four support centers have been opened for visitors and special women’s teams deployed.
“Watch towers and CCTV cameras have been installed for effective surveillance,” he said, adding the provision of wheelchairs for senior citizens and persons with disabilities have also been made.
Meanwhile, DGP Sunil Kumar Bansal also inaugurated a sand art by renowned artist Sudarshan Pattnaik at the Bali Yatra Grounds.
Around 25,000 lamps along with a boat have been used in the 30-feet high art.