Cuttack :Over one lakh people have visited the Baliyatra festival on its opening day near the majestic Barabati fort on the occasion of Kartika Purnima.
The week-long festival, which was inaugurated last evening, is likely to witness a footfall of over 1.5 million. Over 1500 makeshift stalls have been set up showcasing a wide range of products, including ethnic items brought by artisans from across the country.
With amusement swings and joy rides back in the festival and district administration lining a myriad of cultural programmes every evening, it is expected that the Baliyatra crowd this year would cross all previous records, organisers said.
The song and drama division of the Union government, culture departments of Chhatisgarh, Telengana, Andhra Pradesh have extended their cooperation to Cuttack district administration, officials said.
Special pavilions of National Pallishree Mela, Gandhi Shilpa Bazaar and ORMAS-guided self-help groups of women and differently-able people would be the star attractions of the festival as products of these groups sell like hotcakes.
City police have made elaborate preparations to contain crime and maintain law and order at the festival for the next seven days.
“Five watch towers, 26 close-circuit cameras, two police control rooms are to be manned by 43 platoons of police for crowd control,” City DCP Sanjiv Arora said, adding, plainclothes police along with bomb squad and dog squad had been deployed in the festival area.
State Finance Minister Pradeep Amat, in the presence of Industries Minister Devi Prasad Mishra and Culture Minister Ashok Panda, had inaugurated the festival.