Kolkata geared up for the last minute shopping on the last Sunday ahead of Bengali’s biggest festival - Durga Puja. While on the other hand, a large section of people already started hopping from one Puja pandal to another.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had already inaugurated several Puja pandals in the city. On Sunday evening she inaugurated the Puja mandap of Tridhara Sammilani and Ekdalia Evergreen in South Kolkata.
She appreciated the art work in the puja mandaps and inspired the artists those worked round the clock for the past few months to give a shape to the mandaps. “People have started visiting Puja mandaps and these are the moment of happiness,” she said adding that the sky is still cloudy for quite some time in a day. Thus, preparations should be made accordingly.
Each and every market area in the city was packed with people since 11 am in the morning. People from different parts of the city and its adjoining areas poured into different market areas in the city including Gariahat, Shyambazar, New Market, Sealdah and Burabazar.
Though it was a Sunday, all shops in the markets remained open expecting a good business at the end of the day. Manoj Srivastav, owner of a garment shop at Burabazar, said that they had good business in the last two weeks. But most people visited the market on Sunday as it is the beginning of the month.
In the evening there was no space in New Market area for people to move due to the crowd. Finally, policemen were deployed to maintain the crowd. The situation in Shyambazar and Gariahat was also quite similar as hundreds of people were found walking on roads after the footpaths were filled up with people entering and leaving shops for their last minute marketing.
According to a senior police officer, stealing of cell phones from people in such crowded areas could take place at any time. Thus, policemen in plain clothes were posted to keep a watch to check such incidents.
People who went for shopping at Gariahat had also got an opportunity to get a glimpse of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee inaugurating the Puja mandap of Ekdalia Evergreen.
Sunetra Banerjee, who went for shopping at Gariahat on Sunday evening, said: “I went to the Puja mandap of Ekdalia Evergreen when I came to know that Chief Minister was coming to inaugurate the Puja mandap.”
Meanwhile, people started visiting Puja mandaps with five days to go for Saptami to avoid the crowd that they will face to visit a mandap from Panchami or Sasthi onwards.
The city police have posted additional policemen at all the big Puja mandaps which are already inaugurated, to avoid any untoward incident. At the same time, adequate traffic police were deployed to avoid congestion on roads near the market areas.
The top brass of the city police have also chalked out plans for smooth traffic movement during the four to five days of the Puja when lakhs of people will be pouring into the city from different parts of the state to visit different Puja mandaps.