Traffic management and crowd control on VIP Road in northeast Kolkata during Durga Puja emerged as a major concern at a meeting organised by the Bidhannagar commissionerate on Monday.
The meeting was attended by representatives of more than 150 puja committees spread across the northeastern parts of the city and officials of various agencies and utility service providers.
Several Durga Puja organisers requested Gaurav Sharma, the newly appointed police commissioner of the Bidhannagar commissionerate, to deploy more personnel along VIP Road.
Last year, the Burj Khalifa replica at Sreebhumi Sporting Club had brought traffic to a halt on both flanks of VIP Road.
The pandal had to be shut down for visitors on Ashtami.
Ratan Das, of Dum Dum Park Tarun Sangha, requested senior officers of the Bidhannagar commissionerate to ensure that adequate police personnel are deployed in the region and an effective crowd dispersal plan is implemented so that no Durga Puja pandal is forced to shut down for visitors this year.
Police commissioner Sharma said traffic and crowd-control measures are in place.
Steps have been initiated on the basis of the last few years’ crowd count and feedback from Durga Puja organisers, he said.
“We have put in place adequate security measures. Traffic arrangements have also been chalked up keeping in mind the top pujas in areas like Salt Lake, VIP Road, Dum Dum, Rajarhat and New Town. In case organisers have suggestions or want us to modify or tweak our plans here and there, you can get in touch with us by visiting our offices or dropping an e-mail,” said Sharma.
The biggest crowd-puller in the region is Sreebhumi Sporting Club. This year the club’s pandal will be modelled on St Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City, which is expected to draw large crowds.
“This is our golden jubilee year so we have indeed pulled out all stops to make this year’s puja a grand success. We have taken a lesson from last year and are employing more private security guards and deploying additional volunteers,” said Sujit Bose, the state fire and emergency services minister who is also the president of the Sreebhumi Sporting Club.
Bose chaired the meeting held at the Biswa Bangla Convention Centre that had representatives from the West Bengal State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (WBSEDCL), fire and emergency services, New Town Kolkata Development Authority (NKDA) and the Bidhannagar Municipal Corporation.