Lok Mahotsav, the annual cultural festival of the area, has been deferred this year in view of the forthcoming panchayat polls. It is usually organized from January 4 to 6 every year. Collector (Sambalpur) Mrinalini Darswal said the festival cannot be organized on its scheduled date due to the enforcement of the election code of conduct for the panchayat polls. “The new date will be announced after the panchayat polls,” Darswal said while talking to TOI on Thursday.
But the administration’s decision has evoked sharp reactions from members of the organizing committee. Lok Mahotsav is a programme organized by the people every year. “Though the district administration has a role in arranging the programme, it is quite unethical to defer it on grounds of the panchayat poll,” said Sapan Mishra, coordinator of Lok Mahotsav-2012. “The district administration has no right to play with the sentiments of the people,” Mishra said.
“On the other hand, the biggest open air theatre, Dhanu Yatra, will be organized in Bargarh on October 30 on Friday because collector and chairman of the organizing committee decided to have the event as per schedule despite enforcement of election code of conduct.
“I know Election Commission has enforced the election code of conduct in view of the panchayat poll. But this has nothing to do with Dhanu Yatra as it is an annual cultural festival. But the involvement of politicians would be restricted in the festival,” said Bhabagrahi Mishra, collector (Bargarh) and chairman of ‘Dhanu Yatra organizing committee. He said it is difficult to defer the programme as preparations are on in full swing.