All roads leading to the heart of Kolkata will be closed to traffic for most of Thursday because of the Martyrs’ Day programme of the Trinamul Congress.
Chief minister Mamata Banerjee will be the main draw at the event, which is returning to Esplanade after two years. In 2020 and 2021, the programme was held virtually because of Covid.
Hundreds of thousands of people from all over the state have started arriving in Kolkata. If Wednesday’s traffic — it took over an hour to cover a 1-km stretch through Esplanade — was anything to go by, Thursday would be much worse.
Here’s a lowdown from The Telegraph
What: Trinamul to celebrate Martyrs’ Day on July 21 after a two-year gap
Where: In front of Victoria House, Esplanade
When: The rally begins at 11am
Mamata Banerjee likely to arrive at: 12.30pm
Event likely to end at: 2pm
Traffic disruption from: Early morning
Rallies to head for the venue from nine locations
Shyambazar five-point crossing
Route: Bhupen Bose Avenue — Bidhan Sarani — College Street — Nirmal Chandra Street — Ganesh Chandra Avenue — Chittaranjan Avenue
Route: Strand Road — Kingsway — Plassey Gate Road — Red Road — Mayo Road — New Road — JL Nehru Road — Bentinck Street
Route: AJC Bose Road — Moulali — SN Banerjee Road — Dorina crossing — JL Nehru Road — Bentinck Street
Route: SP Mukherjee Road — Ashutosh Mukherjee Road — JL Nehru Road
Route: Chittaranjan Avenue
Kolkata railway station
Route: Roy Charan Sadhukhan Road — RG Kar Road — Shyambazar five-point crossing — Bidhan Sarani — College Street — Nirmal Chandra Street — Ganesh Chandra Avenue — Chittaranjan Avenue
Route: Auckland Road — Strand Road — Kingsway — Plassey Gate Road — Kutchha Pathway through Taltala Ground — Red Road — Mayo Road — Dorina Crossing — JL Nehru Road
Route: Rashbehari connector — Hazra crossing
Azad Hind Bagh, Hedua
Route: Bidhan Sarani — College Street — Nirmal Chandra Street — Rafi Ahmed Kidwai Road — SN Banerjee Road — Dorina crossing — JL Nehru Road
Transport availability: Most of the public transport will be off the roads. Buses, taxis and app cabs could be available later in the evening but in fewer numbers compared with other days.
Metro Railway: Metro will run its usual weekday quota of 288 trains. However, a heavy rush is expected as many rallyists from North and South 24-Parganas travel by Metro.
Kolkata police helpline numbers
Distress helpline: 100
Police control room: 033-22143230
Traffic control room: 033-22143644
Giant screens: Eight giant screens will be installed at the Chittaranjan Avenue-Meredith Street intersection, Chittaranjan Avenue-Madan Street intersection, Esplanade, in front of Oberoi Grand, near Dharmatala post office, on Esplanade Row East, on Lenin Sarani and on JL Nehru Road
Weather: One or two spells of rain are likely on Thursday, the Met office said. “The timing depends on the formation of clouds,” said an official.
I seek forgiveness: CM
Mamata Banerjee, who visited the July 21 rally venue for an hour on Wednesday evening to oversee the arrangements, issued a public apology for the disruption the event is likely to cause.
“We cannot change the venue, because this is where it took place. I seek forgiveness from the people. There will be crowding. Please bear with us for a day,” she said at Esplanade.
Mamata was referring to the death in police firing of 13 people during a protest that she, then a Youth Congress leader, was leading on July 21 in 1993. The Left Front was in power.
“We have not been able to do this physically because of Covid-19 in the past two years. We are able to do it this year. For whatever inconvenience you might face because of this, I seek your forgiveness,” Mamata said.