Kolkata: Cops stop visitors’ entry at ‘Burj Khalifa’ pandal – Times of India

Kolkata News
KOLKATA: Unable to prevent the rush of revellers at the city’s most-hyped Durga Puja pandal, Bidhannagar police have stopped entry of visitors to the pandal since the early hours of Friday.
The pandal is a replica of Dubai’s iconic skyscraper Burj Khalifa created at Sreebhumi in Lake Town.

The move comes on a day when the number of fresh Covid positive cases in Kolkata moved past the 200 mark for the first time in around four months.
Doctors blamed irresponsible rush of revellers at Puja pandals as the primary reason behind the risingCovid-19 numbers in the city.

On Wednesday, the decision was taken hours after visits by multiple senior bureaucrats and IPS officers at the pandal –- including state chief secretary HK Dwivedi and ADG CID Gyanwant Singh and Bidhannagar police commissioner Supratim Sarkar –- on Wednesday night.
By midnight, cops sealed all roads leading to the pandal and drove people waiting for hours on VIP Road’s service lane to see the pandal were driven away.
By Nabami morning, large iron and aluminium structures were put up at the entry gates and a large team of officers were posted to prevent visitors’ entry.
While there was no official response from Bidhannagar Police on the closure and the duration of the same, Puja organisers were visibly miffed.
“We are not in a situation to comment anything at this moment. We are organising the Puja as usual and have our volunteers deployed. But if cops prevent visitors’ entry and close the roads what can we do?” said a club member. The chief patron of the Puja, state fire minister Sujit Bose, was unavailable for comment till the report was published.
The Puja on VIP Road has been at the receiving end of the controversy since the beginning with airline pilots complaining about the laser lights intruding their cockpits while they were approaching Kolkata airport to land that forced the spectacular laser lights show at the pandal to be suspended. But even that didn’t deter the rush of revellers who clogged VIP Road, the service lane and all alleys leading to the pandal raising concerns among locals and the rest of the city alike.
Traffic on VIP Road moved at a snail pace on all Puja evenings and no matter whatever cops tried.
On Wednesday, cops even closed lights on a section of the road leading to the pandal to discourage the revellers but nothing helped as the rush of revellers continued to build, which ultimately led the cops to take the call to suspend visitors’ entry.
The 145-feet tall pandal was built using some 6,000-acrylic sheets to create a replica of Dubai’s Burj Khalifa. Over 250 workers toiled for three-and-a-half months to erect the structure.
In 2015, a similar situation had forced cops to close the Deshapriya Park Puja pandal in south Kolkata.
The idol of the goddess Durga was 88 feet on that occasion and it was touted as the ‘largest’ in the world that had drawn a large number of crowd from far and wide creating a near stampede like situation at the Puja premises and had completely choked traffic on Rashbehari Avenue for three days after which cops sealed the gates and put up view cutters around the park to prevent visitors’ entry.

Source: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kolkata/kolkata-cops-stop-entry-of-visitors-at-burj-khalifa-pandal-due-to-overcrowding/articleshow/87011296.cms