They have taken up the challenge to manage crowds at the city’s hotspots on New Year’s Eve and the long weekend that follows. While Park street has been divided into different sectors under nine deputy commissioners, no traffic restriction has been announced yet for the road.
The need to celebrate responsibly becomes all the more important because of the news of the new strain’s arrival in the state. The time to let our guard down may not come any time soon.
“The watch towers, drones and CCTV cameras will focus on the crowds. Instructions issued from the watchtowers are important as cops posted there will have a bird’s eye view of the swelling crowds. We will deploy 5,000 cops in the core zone (Exide-Park Street). There will be camps at specific intervals along the stretch, from where we will distribute masks and sanitizers. There will be announcements throughout the day. Once the revellers cross certain camps, those not wearing masks will be prosecuted,” said joint CP (headquarters), Subhankar Sinha Sarkar.
Overall, the city will deploy 12,000 cops to usher in the New Year.
In a bid to beef up the security, Park Street has been divided into nine zones, where multiple watchtowers will come up to prevent people from crowding at a particular spot. A team from the detective department’s watch section in plain clothes and officials from the anti-rowdy squad will also be posted to keep tabs on drink driving.
“Traffic movement will remain normal till late in the evening. But if there is overcrowding of people, we will divert both vehicles and revellers from Wood Street and Mayo Road from Gandhi Statue towards J L Nehru Road, Middleton Street, Russell Street, Little Russel Street and Camac Street (from Park Street to Middleton Street),” said an officer.
Taking a clue from the efficient crowd management during Durga Puja, cops have decided to follow the same strategy for New Year’s Eve at Park Street. Though cops will turn Park Street into a pedestrian zone only at midnight on December 31, demarcating more areas for people to walk and take entry from both the flanks of the road. However, they have decided not to allow anyone to hang around for long and block the entrances of eateries.
“We will stop people at one zone if the crowd is unable to move ahead,” said the officer.
Cops, though, are still worried about the crowd management, especially at the hotspots like Maidan and Alipore Zoo in the morning as well as Park Street in the evening. “There are certain stretches like the escalator outside the main entrance of the zoo or the sidewalk near Allen Park, where social distancing is next to impossible,” said an officer from the Bhowanmipore traffic guard.
The plan on traffic movement around Park Street, from Exide Crossing, is likely to be tweaked from December 31. “Given the amount of pressure on EM Bypass as people are travelling to Eco Park, Nicco Park and Science City, we are drawing up our plan afresh for the morning,” said police sources.
“We will be stressing on smooth pedestrian flow around Alipore zoo, Victoria Memorial, Park Circus, Exide Crossing and Science City. Jaywalking has to be stopped. All traffic guards have been instructed accordingly,” said an IPS officer.s
“Depending on the situation, traffic has to be restricted or diverted on several roads leading to Park Street. We don’t want to put too much pressure on JL Nehru Road. Vehicles bound to Behala, Alipore and New Alipore may be directed to Red Road and Mayo Road from Esplanade and Dalhousie,” the officer added.