ROURKELA: Resentment has been brewing among the vendors at the Vedvyas fair venue here on Thursday following the absence of power supply due to fire safety norms.
The 25-day Vedvyas fair is set to kick off on Friday near the Vedvyas temple complex along the Brahmani river, formed on the confluence of rivers Sankh and Koel and a rivulet. It has been an integral part of the Mahashivratri festival for more than a century.
Hundreds of vendors from far-flung areas have erected their stalls at the venue on the occasion.
As per guidelines, Vedvyas Trust Board (VTB), the festival organiser, can supply electricity to the makeshift shops only after necessary clearance from the fire safety authorities. But due to strict guidelines imposed by the latter, it has been posing difficulty to get the clearance.
VTB trustee Gulab Chand Kaushik said that the Assistant Fire Officer on Thursday evening came out with strict guidelines which included that makeshift shops should have walls and roof of GI sheets and not plastic polythene, vendors should cook food 500 metres away from shops, each shop should have sand stocks and 200 litres of water.
It is not possible to replace polythene or tarpaulin sheets of more than 600 makeshift shops which are put up at the venue, he said.
In the absence of fire safety certificate, the VTB is not in a position to provide electricity, Kaushik added. VTB Secretary Anupam Ray, several trustees, fire authorities and police officers were holding talks to work out a solution.
A shop-keeper Shankar Prasad said they should have been informed in advance about the guidelines.
Meanwhile, elaborate security arrangements have been made by Rourkela police.
Rourkela SP Anirudh Singh on Thursday evening reviewed the security preparedness and said that a temporary police control room has been set up and 10 platoons of police would be deployed to maintain law and order, traffic and crowd management.
Necessary safety barricades have been erected at the river Ghat and the ODRAF while Fire Department personnel would be kept on alert to prevent any mishap, he added.