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Kolkata soaks in New Year festive spirit

By Sujoy Dhar, IANS

Kolkata : Crowds overflowed in zoo and parks, in the dance floors of clubs and the discotheques teemed with grooving youngsters, while vehicles stood bumper to bumper outside as Kolkata partied hard to ring in 2008.

Since morning, children and parents thronged the Alipore zoo in the heart of the city, the Victoria Memorial Hall in the city’s heritage and entertainment hub, Nicco Park in Salt Lake, Nalbon boating park and the Millennium Park on the riverfront.

As the sun set on 2007, the action shifted to the brightly lit Park Street, the most happening entertainment zone in Kolkata for several decades.

“I am not going to anywhere particular, I have just come here. The sheer feel of this street with hotels, bars, eateries, music and bookstores gives me a high,” said Aparajita, a young reveller.

While restaurant tables were booked, there were serpentine queues outside most of the eateries from Park Street to Salt Lake’s sprawling open-air mall City Centre.

Kolkata, in the tradition of Yuletide celebrations, capped the week-long revelry with wild New Year’s bashes.

Traffic was regulated between 2pm and 2am. Park Street became west to east, while Shakespeare Sarani, the parallel road, turned east to west on the stretch between JL Nehru Road and AJC Bose Road.

Cars could not be parked on Park Street between JL Nehru Road and Camac Street.

Almost every club has a thrown a gala party with musical soirees or sizzling dance numbers by professionals from home and abroad.

The city’s police contingent also stepped up vigil in all sensitive areas.

“We have 2,000 more policemen deployed in the city to prevent any unsavoury incident. We are using breath analysers for drivers and to prevent any drunken brawl or molestation of women,” Kolkata Police deputy commissioner (headquarters) Vineet Goel told IANS.

“All our senior officers are keeping an eye on the revelry while the overall security has been beefed up to prevent any terror strike,” Goel said.