Bhubaneswar: As the capital city of Odisha is set to host the World Cup of Hockey next year, the city will witness the second edition of .Fest in January 2023.
A stocktaking meeting in this regard was held under the chairmanship of the Commissioner for Development in the presence of senior officials from all relevant departments.
Four major action points have been identified and assigned to relevant government agencies as they prepare for .FEST and transform the city. It was decided to improve the Priority Road Network (PRN) comprising about 80 km of roads along the major landmarks and priority areas of Bhubaneswar.
Similarly, it has been decided to ensure that no road digging will be carried out by any agency and department, in particular WATCO, GAIL and Internet service providers from 1 December 2022 without the prior approval of the BMC. Items such as night bazaar and city beautification works are to be supported by Handlooms Textiles and Handicrafts Department and Odia Language, Literature and Culture Department.
At the meeting, it was decided to form an executive committee for the festival and the beautification of the city under the chairmanship of the VC‐BDA. Senior officials from BMC, Department of Works, DoT, DSYS, Police Department, BSCL, TPCODL, WATCO, NHAI and OFDC will serve on this committee.
Bhubaneswar hosted the World Cup of Hockey in 2018 with a city-dedicated festival celebrating food, entertainment, art and trails. The city had last become festive in 2018 before experiencing Fani in 2019 and Covid since 2020. Thus, the second edition of .FEST is designed to celebrate the city as an urban tourism destination. The festival will include elements such as the Photo Exhibition and Installations, City Trails, Heritage Walks, International Food Festival, Food Truck Carnival and Runaway Night Market to bring the festive atmosphere in the city for 15 days.
“The Night Bazaar and the BhuFeSto (Bhubaneswar Storytelling Festival) will captivate visitors from all over the world and help them learn more about Odisha,” BDA Vice President Shri Balwant Singh said. He also added that .FEST 2023 has a lot to offer in the form of entertainment and performances. “We have planned to host traditional Odisha performing art forms as well as state music and band performances for 15 days. There will be week-long star-studded parties with various internationally renowned artists,” added VC, BDA.
The meeting also focused on organizing the STAMP (Street art and mural project) in a more holistic way by involving various art colleges in the city and state. It was decided to embark nationally and internationally renowned artists in consultation with Central & State Lalitkala Academy on things like developing artworks, murals, sculptures and murals etc. in some public spaces.
“We are very committed to making this a community-driven festival from ideation to execution, and urge citizens of the city to own their own city festival,” VC BDA added. Citizens are requested to ensure complete cleanliness and discipline while hosting the World Cup and .FEST, he added.
“BDA, as part of its preparation, has already launched the tender to incorporate a nationally renowned event management agency to organize and execute the city festival,” said Shri Kabindra Kumar Sahoo, Secretary from BDA.
Similarly, the Bhubaneswar Urban Knowledge Centre, a unit of BDA, has worked closely with BMC and other key agencies on the design of various place-making initiatives across the city as part of the beautification of the city first.