CM urges people to spread the message of peace on Christmas
Kolkata: Stating that all festivals are celebrated in a 'grand manner' in Bengal, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Christmas day urged people to spread the message of peace.
On Christmas day, Banerjee tweeted: "I wish all my brothers and sisters around the world Merry Christmas. In Bengal we celebrate Christmas and all festivals in a grand manner. Do visit @KolChristmas Festival (virtually) on Park Street and many other venues. Spread the message of peace and joy."
The Kolkata Christmas Festival at Allen Park on Park Street started on Monday. The entire one and a half kilometre stretch of the Park Street has been decorated with lights. The Mamata Banerjee government has been organising the Christmas Festival at Allen Park since 2011.
Immersed in festive mood, people came out of their houses wearing new clothes and Santa Claus caps. Tourist spots including Eco Park, Victoria Memorial Hall, India Museum, Alipore Zoological Gardens and Nicco Park witnessed a better turn out on Friday compared to other days.
Decked-up with dazzling lights, Park Street turned out to be the crowd-puller. Mesmerised by the beautiful decorations on both sides of the road, people were spotted shooting mobile videos of the iconic Park Street.
Besides, ensuring security of people by deploying at least 1,200 policemen divided in 5 sectors headed by one Deputy Commissioner of police at Park Street, the Kolkata Police made people aware of maintaining safe distance and other Covid protocols using a public addressing system.
At least 4,000 police personnel were deployed across the city and 10 watch towers were set up at Park Street to maintain a constant vigil to avoid any untoward
"We have spent a remarkable day at Park Street with people irrespective of their religion coming together to celebrate the day," said Md Saqib, a resident of Wellesley Square.
Alipore Zoo witnessed a footfall of around 30,000 people on Christmas Day, said Asis Kumar Samanata, Director of Alipore Zoological Gardens, adding that the usual footfall remains between 400 and 600 on other days in post-Covid situations. Earlier, during pre-COVID-19 pandemic period, the footfall of visitors used to be between 3,000 and 4,000 on a normal day.
Around 5,000 people visited Nicco Park on Friday compared to 1,500 to 1,800 footfalls on normal days.
The most interesting part of this year's Christmas Day was the double-decker bus, which was flagged off by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in October. People boarded the bus for joy rides. Youngsters were found taking selfies with the bus in the backdrop.
Though less in number compared to that of the yester years, restaurants and restro-bars at Park Street witnessed a good turnout since Thursday evening. "In comparison to last year's Christmas day, 60 per cent of the people visited our restaurant this year," said an official of Shiraz Golden Restaurant at Park Street.