If you want to enjoy your drink on December 31, first get someone to drive you home. Otherwise, you may usher in the New Year in the police lock-up.
A special squad of Calcutta police will patrol the streets this party season, breathalysers in hand, to keep a tab on drunken driving. Park Street, Camac Street, Alipore, AJC Bose Road, Esplanade and Gariahat are some of the places where the policemen will be on watch.
“Our records suggest that drunken driving is the main reason behind fatal mishaps during the festive season. We will tighten the vigil on motorists from December 24,” said additional commissioner (I) S.N. Sarkar.
“People failing the breathalyser test will have to spend the night behind bars. We will start cases against them,” added Sarkar.
About 2,500 policemen are generally pressed into service on Christmas and New Year’s eve. This year, the number of policemen deployed will go up by 1,500.
Plainclothesmen will even keep a tab on the activities inside discotheques. Those found misbehaving with women will be arrested.
Police commissioner Gautam Mohan Chakrabarti spelt out guidelines at a recent meeting with representatives of bars, restaurants and clubs.
Bar and discotheque owners were advised to bolster security measures and scan their guests.
“We asked the bar-owners to keep in touch with the local police station. In case of a law-and-order problem, the Heavy Radio Flying Squad will rush to the spot,” said Sarkar.
The meeting with representatives of bars, discotheques and restaurants is an annual ritual. “The bar-owners are aware that the police will not enforce the rules. Besides, there are ways to flout rules by keeping the cops happy,” said a retired senior police officer.