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Park St for pedestrians

Park Street will turn into “Party Street” reserved for pedestrians on the eve of Christmas and New Year if police approve a tourism department proposal apparently endorsed by the chief minister.

The proposal states that vehicular movement be barred between the Chowringhee Road-Park Street crossing and the Wood Street-Park Street crossing from 5pm till midnight on December 24 and 31.

Sources said the proposal was forwarded to Lalbazar after the tourism department, which looks after Park Street decoration during the year-end festivities, got the idea endorsed by none other than Mamata Banerjee.

“She (Mamata) wanted to gift the people a very special Christmas and New Year. To execute the proposal, vehicular traffic will be barred on that stretch so there is only pedestrian movement,” said an official in the home department.

The Park Street stretch between the Wood Street and Chowringhee Road crossings is being decorated with overhead light panels.

Last year and the year before, the police had imposed restrictions on pedestrian movement on Park Street footpaths on the eve of Christmas and New Year. A portion of the road was barricaded and reserved for pedestrians.

This year, if vehicular traffic is completely barred, a fresh plan for pedestrian movement on the 1,500m stretch will have to be chalked out.

The proposal is now on the police commissioner’s table and a decision is likely on Thursday.

“If the proposal is finalised, both north and south-bound vehicles will be encouraged to take the Park Street flyover and for movement on Park Street beyond the Wood Street crossing, connecting roads like Loudon Street and Rawdon Street can be used,” said an officer in the traffic department.

“In the new plan, parking space will be available on Russell Street, Middleton Row, Outram Road island, Chowringhee Road-Mayo Road crossing, Rafi Ahmed Kidwai Road, and parts of Wood Street and Free School Street.”

At a meeting with bar and club representatives, the police asked them to ensure that there are enough women guards and closed-circuit TV cameras on and outside their premises. Watering holes in three-star or higher establishments will be allowed to stay open till 4am between December 15 and January 17 against a daily fee of Rs 70,000. Other places will be allowed to stay open till 2am.