The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Private eye to police pandals

Not depending entirely on policemen for tighter security near the happening puja pandals on the city’s southern fringes any longer, the administration is planning to introduce guards of private security companies. The latter will operate in coordination with the government forces to regulate traffic and make life easier for the pandal-hoppers.

Shakil Ahmed, deputy superintendent of police, traffic, South 24-Parganas, said on Sunday that they have plans to employ private security personnel owing to the shortage of district traffic policemen. This will facilitate the flow of traffic in the crowded areas. “We had started planning days in advance, and to begin with, the guards of a private security agency are at present accompanying our constables to several venues to learn the ropes. It used to be difficult for us to man these stretches as our manpower is limited. For example, on the Behala-Thakurpukur stretch, there are only 40 traffic constables, and with experience we have learnt that the number is not sufficient. Now we have decided that 30 members of the private security agency will accompany our men,” he added.

The district traffic department has already deployed private security guards on Diamond Harbour Road, from Behala no.14 bus depot to the Shakherbazaar stretch. “The duty hours have been fixed and they will work in two shifts — from 8 in the morning till noon, and from 4 in the evening till 9 pm,” Ahmed added.

“The best part of it is that a few private companies have come forward to bear the cost of employing these security personnel and the government will not have to pay anything for their services. These security guards will be used in the crowded areas of Regent Park, Kasba, Thakurpukur, Behala and the areas adjacent to the city to handle the crowds at several well-known puja committee venues like Bosepukur Sitala Mandir, Bosepukur Talbagan, Mitali Sangha in Regent Park, Srishti and Sahajatri in Behala,” said a police official of the traffic wing of the district police.

Mobile offer

A leading cellphone company has come forward to allow devotees to enjoy the Pujas without leaving their drawing rooms.

Hutch has introduced a scheme to offer puja at the Kali temple in Kalighat for their subscribers through Short Message Services (SMS). “Our subscribers will be able to offer puja from Sasthi through Nabami at a cost of Rs 51. The services will include home delivery of prasad, flowers and a photograph of the goddess,” said a Hutch customer care centre official.

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