City turns into citadel on Diwali eve; moves at snail's pace

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New Delhi, Nov 8 (UNI) The city on Diwali eve today virtually turned into a citadel with the Delhi Police intensifying general patrolling and bolstering the security apparatus in almost every part, including markets, railway stations and metros, ensuring that the city residents celebrate an incident-free festival of lights.

The Delhi Police has put in place heightened security measures to avoid any mishappening like the bomb blasts that rocked the capital in October 2005 on the eve of Diwali, claiming 59 lives.

Metal detectors have been erected at the entry points of major markets like Sarojini Nagar, Lajpat Nagar and Karol Bagh. There was heavy deployment of security personnel across the city. The city hospitals have also been asked to be prepared to face any kind of emergency.

A general announcement is being made from time to time informing the public to be alert and vigil about any suspected object or a person.

''With Diwali only a day afar, we are maintaining a state of alert through measures like intensified patrolling, deployment of sniffer dogs and bomb-disposal squads and constant vigil of crowded places,'' Delhi Police spokesperson Rajan Bhagat told UNI today.

He said, ''The police after 1730 hrs will be conducting patrolling of all the main parts and markets of the city. No chances are being taken, and we are doing our level best to ensure that it is an incident-free Diwali for the city residents. All our senior officers and personnel will be out there in the field to make sure the security apparatus is intact.'' A constant vigil is being maintained at the Railway stations too.

''Already, Railway authorities have stopped sale of platform tickets at the New Delhi and Old Delhi stations as part of its precautionary measures to avert any mishappening,'' Mr Bhagat added.

Furthermore, those travelling by trains were being subjected to increased frisking to avoid any untoward incidents.

Police are also cracking down on those manufacturing illegal firecrackers and spurious liquor. Some gamblers have also landed in the police net as betting rackets once again reared their ugly heads ahead of the festival of lights.

Meanwhile, today turned out to be another harrowing day for those who ventured out to do the last-minute Diwali shopping as the markets were packed to the gills and there was virtually a mad scramble in jewellery, sweet, clothes and dried fruit shops.

Travelling on Delhi roads again proved a nightmarish experience.

Traffic movement near some big markets, including South Extension, Lajpat Nagar and Sarojini Nagar, was reduced to a crawl and serpentine tailbacks, threatening to spill out any moment, could be witnessed in most parts of the capital.

Besides the three, the other worst affected were access roads to markets, including Greater Kailash, Nehru Place, Karol Bagh, Vikas Marg, Aurobindo Marg, Defence Colony, Peeragarhi, Rajouri Garden, Kamla Nagar and Connaught Place, Ring Road, Outer Ring Road, Mehrauli-Gurgaon Road, Yusuf Sarai and Aurobindo Marg crossing.

UNI

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