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Kolkata’s Christmas revellers breach Covid protocol

Thousands visit zoo, Victoria, Eco Park and Nicco Park to celebrate the festival

Subhajoy Roy, Snehal Sengupta | Published 26.12.21, 02:59 AM
Revellers throng Park Street on Christmas evening.

Revellers throng Park Street on Christmas evening.

Pradip Sanyal

The city celebrated Christmas throwing to the bin concerns about a raging Covid pandemic.

Tens of thousands of people hit the streets, many of them in red, and they accessorised themselves as they went along. Reindeer horns, Santa caps, Vegas glasses, horns…

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Police who were too few for the turnout looked helpless.

What The Telegraph saw in some of the popular spots

Lunch at Park Street

A 30-year-old Behala resident had reached Mocambo’s door at 1.30pm. She finally went inside for lunch at 3.30pm.

Park Street was filled with diners on Christmas afternoon. There were queues outside almost all restaurants. The smiling faces did not mind waiting in the queue.

Nitin Kothari, owner of two of Park Street’s more famous places, Mocambo and Peter Cat, said “the turnout was better than even 2019, not only 2020”.

(Left) Police stop a car from which an occupant was jutting out through the sunroof on Park Street on Christmas Eve. (Right) Visitors at the elephants’ enclosure at the Alipore zoo on Saturday

(Left) Police stop a car from which an occupant was jutting out through the sunroof on Park Street on Christmas Eve. (Right) Visitors at the elephants’ enclosure at the Alipore zoo on Saturday

Right picture by Sanat Kr Sinha

Zoo and Victoria Memorial

Babu, the chimpanzee, was the top draw with a throng of people gathered around the perimeter wall of its enclosure. Babu would not have liked all of it, although he is traditionally warm to people. Many were jeering at him for some reason. The high glass walls around the enclosure prevented people from throwing food inside.

Other top draws were the giraffe enclosure and the one with the white tiger.

Buoyed by the turnout, the zoo’s gates remained open till 5pm, 30 minutes more than usual. “There were many children, who had come from far, for whom we extended the time,” said an official.

Many hopped from the zoo to Victoria or the other way. Over 32,000 people visited Victoria Memorial on Saturday.

St Paul’s Cathedral

Rows of candles were lit in front of a cross, the meditation corner, at St Paul’s Cathedral, as those who could not attend the morning prayers made their prayers here.

Three prayers were held. The first two — at 7.15am and 8.30am — were conducted in English while the 11am prayer was in Bengali. “We kept the gates to the church open till 4pm. About 2,500 people attended the three morning prayers,” said an official of the church.

Eco Park

By 1pm, the Major Arterial Road in New Town had bumper-to-bumper traffic as hundreds of people headed to Eco Park. By 2.30pm, the parking space was fully exhausted.

More than 60,280 people visited Eco Park till 6pm.

If the traffic chaos outside was unmanageable, the crowd not wearing masks was difficult to manage inside the park. “We had asked all security guards to check if people were wearing masks at the gates. We made announcements, too, but many had taken their masks off,” said Debashis Sen the park’s managing director.

The Mother’s Wax Museum opposite the park also got a steady footfall.

Nicco Park

Salt Lake resident Neil Sen Chaudhuri headed to Nicco Park with wife Ria and 5-year-old son Aryan on Christmas. They reached at 11:30am and could enter the park 25 minutes later because of the long queue at the ticket counter.

A park official said that Nicco Park had a footfall of 4,500 on Christmas.

The official said they had made arrangements like placing hand sanitisers at all entry points, near the rides and at the food court.

Ove 600 birds on display at Salt Lake’s BJ Block park's Christmas Carnival

Around 600 birds of over 160 species like macaws, South African turaco, hornbills and Chinese pheasants were on display at Salt Lake’s BJ Block park as part of a Christmas Carnival. The carnival ended on December 25.

Last updated on 27.12.21, 12:18 PM
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