Kolkata Police gears up for a smooth traffic management during the Durga Pujas

Crowd and traffic control during Durga Puja in the added areas of Kolkata – where there’s been a phenomenal rise in number of mega-budget pujas – is turning into a bigger challenge every year for Kolkata Police.

Deployment of forces

As many as 4,000 personnel will be posted across the city along with home guards. Traffic will be barred on many roads from 3 PM to 1 AM on Panchami and up to 3 AM till Navami. Kolkata Police has also drawn up specific traffic regulations on 133 streets.

A few hundred constables and over 450 trainee traffic sergeants will be the additional forces on the road on all Puja days. Most of the divisions and the traffic wing have increased their staff strength. This extra force will be deployed in the added areas where road space is restricted. In addition, help will be taken of the numerous of CCTV cameras to cover all the major crossings of the added areas. Based on real time inputs, necessary deployments will be made.

Newly-added areas under Kolkata Police

The added areas spread over 104 sq km and include 13 police stations. Unlike other years, this time the full police bandobast will begin on Panchami itself.

There are at least 28 big pujas in this new area and over 1,000 medium-scale pujas. Additional manpower has been sought from the state police but top officers have been asked to prepare their plan with existing resources.

Other arrangements

NCC cadets, scouts, students and several NGOs will be used for managing crowds at pandals, said sources. Like last year,information regarding traffic, the situation at pandals and those lost in crowd will be transmitted on the AIR FM channel.

The Government has put a restriction on immersion of Durga Idols in Kolkata on 23 and 24 October as the dates clash with Muharram.

Going by the almanac, this year Vijay Dashami falls on 23 October when, after offering a three-day puja, the Idols of goddess Durga are traditionally immersed into river. But over the years, many community puja organisers have developed the tendency to perform the ritual even a day or two after Vijay Dashami.

Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee who held a meeting with various Durga Puja committee heads and religious leaders at Netaji Indoor Stadium in Kolkata, made the announcement on restriction on immersion of Durga Idols in the city.

She announced that for household Durga Puja in Kolkata, the immersion of Idols will be on 22 October after the Maha Navami puja is over.

There will be no immersion on 23 and 24 October as Muharram, which is observed by a large section Muslim population in the city, falls on those dates. Allowing the immersion on those two days might lead to traffic congestion and law and order situation.

The immersion of Idols of all community Durga Puja in Kolkata will be from 12 noon on wards on 25 October. The immersion will continue the next day, that is, on 26 October, from 8 am to 2 pm as the Laxmi Puja falls on that day.