Traffic crawled on the VIP Road and the Major Arterial Road in New Town — two arteries that connect the airport with the rest of the city as lakhs of revellers were headed to Puja pandals on a hot and humid Saptami.
A long queue of cars on the airport-bound flank of the VIP Road indicated that big-ticket Puja pandals off the VIP Road, including Sreebhumi Sporting Club, Dum Dum Park, Dum Dum Park Tarun Sangha and Lake Town Adivasi Brinda, were close by.
Even though the speed of vehicles started reducing from the EM Bypass-VIP Road flyover itself, traffic cops from both the Bidhannagar Commissionerate and Kolkata police ensured that the vehicles kept moving at a steady rate.
On Sunday evening, a drive from the base of the flyover till Lake Town took nearly 30 minutes.
On normal days it takes around 10 minutes to travel the same distance.
A long queue of revellers stretched from the Lake Town clock tower till Sreebhumi. Organisers and cops were using ropes to control the crowd movement.
Sreyoshi Ganguly, a Maniktala resident, said she and her friends had to wait for more than an hour before they could enter the pandal.
A similar situation played out in front of the Dum Dum Tarun Sangha pandal where thousands of revellers waited patiently in line to get inside.
In order to keep the traffic moving on VIP Road cops have created a green corridor between Golaghata and Bangur Avenue where buses are not allowed to stop.
More than 5,000 police personnel including eight deputy police commissioners and 13 assistant police commissioners are out on the streets across the Bidhannagar Commissionerate.
A chunk of the police deployment has been done along the VIP Road, a senior officer said.
This apart, several heavy radio flying squads have been stationed around the big-ticket pandals.
The traffic plan has been kept flexible on Puja days and at times two-wheelers are being allowed to ply on the service road between Golaghata and Bangur Avenue.
“We are tweaking the traffic plan according to the surge in crowd that depends on timings. The crowd increases steadily from 6pm and keeps increasing till 1am,” said a senior traffic police officer of the Bidhannagar Commissionerate.
People also descended in numbers at the New Town Sarbojanin Puja in New Town near Central Mall. However, the traffic plan in place here and the width of the Major Arterial Road ensured that traffic kept moving albeit at a slower pace.
Samaresh Das, one of the key organisers of the puja, said that they have already recorded a footfall of more than 2 lakh people. “This is our first year and we have had a very good response,” said Das.
Salt Lake pandals too had a sizeable footfall on Saptami.