Pandals remain packed on Shasthi
KOLKATA: Amid tight security arrangements in view of 'prevailing threats from divisive and terrorist groups,' the city burst into a festive frenzy with pandals witnessing a massive turnout of visitors on the day of Shasthi. Owing to rain prediction between Ashtami and Dashami, revellers visited pandals on Monday in large numbers painting an unusual scene for Shasthi evening.
With police taking steps to ensure Covid protocols are maintained, people were seen largely conscious about the safety precautions and not dropping their guard against the highly contagious virus. Police, along with an adequate number of volunteers deployed by Durga Puja organisers, were found ensuring maintenance of physical distancing norms.
Meanwhile, the state beefed up security arrangements to avert any untoward incident during the festival. Earlier, the state government had issued an advisory directing police to "exercise utmost vigilance" during Durga Puja in view of threats from divisive forces to 'destablise the country's law and order situation.'
The pandal of Sreebhumi Sporting club, shaped as Burj Khalifa, turned out to be a major attraction for the pandal-hoppers. Fair turnout of revelers was also noticed at Puja pandals of Suruchi Sangha, Chetla Agrani, Naktala Udayan Sangha, Bagbazar Sarbojonin, Ahiritola Sarbojanin and Kumartuli Sarbojanin. Several revellers preferred to spend time with their near and dear ones at city restaurants.
Meanwhile, Kolkata Traffic Police ensured the smooth movement of vehicles along the arterial roads across the city. In major intersections, police personnel along with volunteers and NCC cadets were seen managing the crowd.
Apart from maintaining traffic, Kolkata Police is maintaining strict vigil from several watch-towers erected at major Puja pandal premises. Naka checking was being done at strategic points and police patrolling vans were found moving in respective areas round the clock.
Meanwhile, West Bengal State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (WBSEDCL) has so far provided 40,124 temporary connections to Puja committees till Shasthi morning and an amount of around Rs 9.36 crore has been realised on account of security deposit.
In an attempt to ensure uninterrupted power supply and to address any power outages related issues during Puja days, the state Power department has opened a special 24x7 control room, which will remain operational till October 16, the day of Ekadashi.
Last Thursday, the Power minister opened two control room numbers at Vidyut Bhawan —8900793503/89007935504 managed by the West Bengal State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (WBSEDCL). CESC has also floated two control room numbers — 9831079666/9831083700.
If there are power-related issues in any particular area, people can call on these numbers and send pictures through WhatsApp. The concerned officials will immediately address the issues.