Kolkata: A joint strategy by Kolkata Police and West Bengal Pollution Control Board (PCB) may get residents of apartments and complexes to keep watch on neighbours who burst illegal crackers.
“It is not easy for us to have access to major complexes. We will reach out to the residents and ask them to call us up whenever they see anyone bursting crackers,” said a senior DCP.
The plan, sources said, has two advantages — cops will have the evidence to proceed against the accused and it will create a united response from the people themselves. “This Durga Puja, Covid was in check not just because of police vigilance, but because the citizens supported us. We are looking for similar cooperation from the citizens during Kali Puja. Dedicated communication lines will be set up for this purpose,” said an officer.
Officers, though, said the police strategy was not limited to campaigns. Cops have started seizing crackers at the source — mainly Burrabazar, Posta and the warehouses in the Port areas and Taratala. “Many cracker sellers said they were incurring losses and want to take their stocks out of the state. They said storing was a major concern. In the absence of proper storing units, it was a risk to keep them in the Burrabazar area. We had allowed them some time to remove the stocks, but now we are seizing everything. We also need to see documentation that the crackers are being taken out of the state. Anyone moving crackers without legal documents will face action,” an officer said.
The cops said they are also mapping the trouble spots across the city — the south suburban division leading the list. Several spots in the north, and Behala-Thakurpukur, will see extra deployment a few days before Diwali. The police have also decided to track down all local traders and advise them not to invest in crackers. “We are telling them to read the mood of the people. They are also being told that they will be challenging the law of the land,” said an officer.