Kolkata: Shoppers & early pandal-hoppers slow down traffic, 4,000 cops to be on streets from Tritiya – Times of India

Kolkata News
KOLKATA: Pre-Puja traffic snarls returned to several Kolkata pockets as shoppers and pandal-hoppers jostled with office-going traffic since Thursday evening.
Around 4,000 cops will hit the streets from 4 pm on Friday as Durga Puja festivities start on Tritiya ahead of the weekend.

The state had urged committees for a Tritiya or Chaturthi opening to space out the Puja over the next eight days till Dashami to ensure physical distancing.
Chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday inaugurated 18 south and central Kolkata pujas. CM Banerjee repeatedly urged people to maintain Covid protocols and use masks and sanitisers.
The usual pre-Puja pressure was visible in specific pockets of the city like Gariahat-Ballygunge, Behala, Sealdah and Hatibagan.
With multiple inaugurations slotted throughout Thursday and a few big-budget pujas opening their doors to pandal-hoppers, traffic remained slow. Pandal hoppers were mostly using private vehicles, police said.
In their final Durga Puja briefing at the Police Training School chaired by commissioner Soumen Mitra, senior officers were told to expect more crowds on the streets than the years before. With people now doubly vaccinated and are no more willing to sit at home, a senior officer said, the stress was more on ensuring they wear masks and maintain Covid protocols.
Organisers say people have already started arriving. At Mudiali Club, Ashok Dey, a key organizer, said they will not be finishing their work till late at night on Thursday. “Yet, we have people arguing with us to be allowed in saying High Court orders will kick in only after an official inauguration. We had to deploy six of the 14 guards which we have hired this Puja to keep a vigil from such enthusiasts,” said Dey.
At Selimpur Pally and Behala Barisha Club, which were inaugurated by the chief minister earlier, witnessed a steady stream of visitors who turned up as early as Wednesday midnight.
Abhishek Bhattacharya, secretary of Tala Barowari, said the rush was such that they had to put up extra barricades and request people to come back on Saturday once the pandal was inaugurated. “We are telling them that It would be visible to everyone from a distance, and none have to worry about barricades and fences. We are not putting them up this year,” said Bhattacharya.
Police said special arrangements have been made for “choke points” like Rashbehari Avenue, Hatibagan and Tollygunge Circular Road. Some areas, which traditionally witness lesser number of pujas like Howrah Bridge guard and Vidyasagar traffic guard, have already diverted their men to manage the most crowded spots of CR Avenue, Hatibagan, Rashbehari Avenue and DH Road.

Source: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kolkata/shoppers-early-pandal-hoppers-slow-down-traffic-4k-cops-to-be-on-streets-from-tritiya/articleshow/86850111.cms