Drive-and-darshan may lead to traffic snarls this year, fear Kolkata cops – Times of India

Kolkata News

KOLKATA: Kolkata Police will draw on last year’s experience when entry into pandals was banned to chalk out a final Puja crowd control plan this year.
On Saturday, Lalbazar discussed at length two challenges — controlling visitors at the barricades to stop excessive crowding near the pandal entrances and ensuring revellers who enter the main puja zones like Rashbehari Avenue in the south and Rabindra Sarani-CR Avenue in the north move in a disciplined manner without impacting traffic flow. Since entry into pandals will be barred, more people are expected to drive by and get a peek into pandals and idols from the car itself. This might lead to clogging in front of pandals, it is feared.
While coordination meetings of organisers in Jadavpur, Behala and Port area have been completed, cops are likely to meet those in central and north Kolkata on Monday. Thereafter, senior officers, led by commissioner Somen Mitra, will do the rounds of major pandals.
Despite the ban on entry into pandals, police expect pandal hoppers, especially youngsters, to hit the roads. “From Sasthi to Nabami last year, we saw a large number of youngsters flocking pandals. At Chetla Agrani in the south or Kumartuli Park in the north, we had to ask people to keep moving and stop crowding at the barriers. We expect more people this year as many are vaccinated,” said an officer.
Organizers like Tala Barowari in the north and Hindusthan Park in the south said they wanted police to suggest ways to control crowding at the barricades. “We have decided not to block the approach roads to the pandal in any manner that can affect dispersal,” said Abhishek Bhattacharya of Tala Barowari. Pintu Sengupta of 66 Pally said visitors will not be allowed to hang out near the pandal. What had led to crowding at the pandal barricades last year is the trend to take a selfie and post it on social media.
Police have decided to keep 25-50 men at each of the major pujas of the city.