Revellers throng Park Street; CM tweets 'make happy memories'

Kolkata: Christmas has brought the cheer back after months of stalemate due to the Covid pandemic with people across the state celebrating the day with pomp and grandeur.

Starting from visiting different places to dining out with near and dear ones following the Covid protocols were the main part of the celebration that turned Park Street to "Walking Street" by Saturday evening with restrictions imposed on the movement of vehicles from around 5 pm onward. Thousands of people poured onto Park Street to enjoy the mesmerising decoration of twinkling lights from Chandernagore and dine at their favourite outlets.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who attended the midnight mass at the Cathedral of the Most Holy Rosary in Kolkata on Friday and prayed for the well-being of one and all, urged people "to make happy memories while maintaining all Covid protocols".

"Merry Christmas to all! May this festive season fill your lives with warmth and joy. Make happy memories while maintaining all COVID protocols," the Chief Minister tweeted.

The state government has given relaxations on night restrictions from December 24 to 31 for Christmas Day and New Year allowing people to come out of their houses during the festive season.

Eco Park, Alipore Zoological Garden, Victoria Memorial Hall, Princep Ghat and Nicco Park were the favourite places where people visited in large numbers since morning. Around 51,000 visited Alipore Zoological Garden on Saturday. After visiting different places, people turned up at Park Street that was turned into a "dream world" with huge life-size cutouts of Santa Claus under the net of LED lights hanging from the top from one side of the road to another. Police maintained a close vigil from watchtowers at Park Street.

Kolkata Heritage Cruise, an initiative of the state Transport department, has come up as a major attraction for the people on Christmas Day. Revellers in large numbers took a ride on it, enjoying the beauty of river Hooghly in the decked up vessel with light snacks and music.

The cops kept a close watch on the situation to avoid any untoward incident and arrested 94 people besides seizing around 163.9 litre of illicit liquor from different parts of the city.

The hospitality industry has witnessed good business with the relaxations given by the state government on night restrictions. The restaurants, including those on Park Street, have ensured proper maintenance of Covid protocols despite heavy turnout.

The scenario was quite similar in districts where people visited various places of interest. The tourist destinations in the state, including Digha, Mandarmani, Mukutmanipur and Bishnupur witnessed heavy footfall giving a new lease of life to the hospitality sector after the second wave of the pandemic. A large number of people also visited Darjeeling and Dooars in North Bengal. Darjeeling witnessed snowfall on Saturday, giving a good reason to tourists to cheer about.

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