Near empty Kolkata streets greet Sunday drivers – Times of India

Kolkata News

It was the first Sunday after Puja when Kolkata eateries hardly had any footfall and traffic was down to a minimum. The usually busy streets wore a deserted look. According to city cops, the number of cars on the streets was 60% less than any given Sunday. While the T20 World Cup India-Pakistan match was surely one of the contributing factors, another could be the fear of venturing out in the face of the recent rise in COVID-19 cases in the city.
Traffic surprisingly low
The on-duty police officers on the Kolkata streets were first to notice the sudden absence of cars. According to Kolkata Police sergeants, traffic was far less than usual on Sunday evening. “There are usually fewer cars on roads on Sundays, but it was particularly low this Sunday. I think it was more than 60% less,” a sergeant told us. Another sergeant from a north Kolkata traffic guard added, “The traffic was light since afternoon and the streets were emptier in the evening. I assume it was more because of the India-Pakistan cricket match than post-Puja exhaustion.”
Food joints and pubs take it easy
Even restaurants and bars registered around 20-25% less footfall. Debaditya Chaudhury, the managing director of three restaurant chains, said he feels people are thinking twice about venturing out again because of the rise in COVID cases. “The India-Pakistan match was another reason. It’s also common for people to stay away from eateries after Puja,” he added.
Vanita Bajoria, owner of two pubs and a café, feels the cricket match was one of the biggest reasons for the reduced football. “This Puja was the most profitable for the F&B industry in Kolkata and I think, people stayed in this Sunday because they are taking it slow on spending. Things will improve from around Diwali I feel,” she added.

Cricket buffs enjoy at home
All said and done, a high-octane India-Pakistan T20 match is more than enough reason to keep people home. Add to that a wariness of catching the match in a crowded pub or restaurant at a time when COVID seems to be making a strong comeback, and most people felt safe at home. “Though India lost the match, and it was heartbreaking, I had a gala time with my friends and family at home. We had a plan to drive out to a highway dhaba in the evening, but decided to stay at home and have a small get-together instead,” said Srijit Majumder, a Kolkata-based IT professional.