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Kolkata roads have record turnout of revellers


Kolkata : Kolkata registered a record number of footfall throughout New Year’s Eve as revellers and party poopers swarmed to city thoroughfares to welcome 2008.

If Alipore Zoological Gardens, Victoria Memorial and St Paul’s Cathedral drew around three million visitors and revellers during the day, evening witnessed party hoppers take the sunset boulevard Park Street by storm.

Honking cars, rowdy revellers, harried policemen and overflowing discothèques marked the evening.

While the city partied, the traffic police put their collective foot down against fervent last-minute pleas by hoteliers to allow vehicles to stop on the road and let passengers alight.

“It is not practical. Traffic moves slowly on Park Street during the New Year. If we allow vehicles to stop, there will be more chaos,” said Ranvir Kumar, joint commissioner of police (traffic).

Nearly 2,000 policemen were deployed on the roads under the supervision of three deputy commissioners and an additional commissioner, assisted by a battery of plainclothes security personnel.

Keeping in mind an earlier fracas between the police and army jawans, nightclubs were on guard.

At Tantra, the famous discotheque at The Park, a spokesperson said screening of visitors was closer to identify potential trouble-makers, and security arrangements were fool-proof this year.

If DJs and reality show winners were hot on demand this New Year, dancers from Russia, Ukraine, Hawaii and Romania were the star attraction in various hotels. There were also sizable crowds at the bookstores – Oxford, Landmark and Crossword – that had arranged special game sessions for children.