Protocols have been put in place ahead of the festive season in Kolkata.&
Kolkata: The Kolkata Police Headquarters at Lalbazar has asked puja organisers not to allow more than 15-25 people at a time during rituals such as sandhi puja, Anjali and sindur khela. This decision was taken after an advisory stated that rituals should take place in batches and crowds must be controlled.
Other than these rituals, 30-50 people will be allowed at once inside the pandals. No one will be allowed to stand and wait in front of the pandal.
An officer told the Times of India, “While we have left it to the organisers to decide the final numbers during the peak hours, we have issued an advisory after several organisers asked for more clarity on the issue. The numbers will depend on the size of the pandal and the local police will take the final call. But given the situation, the organisers need to be strict. We will be using the three days, Dwitiya to Chaturthi, to make minor changes to each of our micro plans depending on the responses we receive on the ground.”
At the 66 Pally Puja at Rashbehari Avenue, Anjali will be held in six to seven batches, each comprising 20-25 residents, said one committee member. Pintu Sengupta told TOI, “We will stop the entry of outsiders during Anjali and sindoor khela if the numbers present inside the pandal go up.”
Tala Baroari has also planned around 10 batches for Anjali.
An officer said, “In case of excessive crowding, we will stop the pandal hoppers from entering. This will be done in coordination with divisional DCs and the Kolkata Police control room.”
Visitors will be separated into batches before entering the pandals.
“In simple words, if we used a 300m stretch earlier, complete with barricades, to manage the crowd, we will now double that area. That might lead to the crowd spilling over to the main roads,” an officer said.