Describing managing this year's Durga Puja as a "bigger challenge" compared to other years because it has coincided with Muharram, a top city police officer said, "We have requested clerics to conclude their rallies during the Durga Puja days by 4PM... So that the rallies do not cause any problem to people coming out for pandal hopping."
In fact, Kolkata Police has altered routes of Muharram rallies to avoid congestion at major roads, which also lead to big-budget Durga Pujas, he said, adding that the main concern would be on the fifth and seventh day of Muharram.
"While the crucial fifth day has fallen on Sasthi (October 19), seventh day is on Asthami (October 21) when we will have to manage maximum rush... So need to be extra cautious," a senior officer of Kolkata Police told PTI.
Apart from around 14,000 police personnel along with 4,000 temporary home guards scheduled to be posted across the city, another few hundred thousand constables with over 450 trainee traffic sergeants will be the additional force on roads on the five days on 24-hour basis, he said.
According to the IPS officer, crowd and traffic control during the Durga Pujas in the city and its surrounding added areas, which witnessed a phenomenal rise in the number of mega-budget pujas, is becoming a bigger challenge each year for the Force.
In this context, Kolkata Police has also drawn up specific traffic regulations on 133 streets which will be effective from Panchami (October 18). Traffic will be barred on several roads from 3PM to 1 AM on Panchami (October 18) which will be extended to 3AM from Sasthi (October 19), Saptami (October 20), Astami (October 21) and Navami (October 22).