Siliguri (West Bengal) [India], September 22 (ANI): Siliguri Metropolitan Police (SMP) will use drones for aerial surveillance, amid COVID-19, to monitor the crowd gatherings during Durga puja, which is celebrated with much fervour in the state.
More than 3,000 puja pandals are being organized in North Bengal including 618 puja pandals in Siliguri. Durga puja organizers are setting the pitch, days ahead of the festival. To attract devotees, colourful pandals are set up, theme-based Goddess Durga idols are being installed along with glittering lightings. Before the pandemic, several domestic and international tourists use to throng the pandals in the state during the festivities.
However, after the COVID-19 outbreak, the puja organisers along with the administration are taking measures to avoid mass gatherings during the festival to curb the spread of the virus. The pandemic has prompted the organisers to celebrate the festival in small gatherings.
Gourav Sharma, Commissioner of Police (CP), SMP, held a meeting with the puja organisers on Wednesday and urged all the organisers to take necessary measures to avoid the transmission of COVID-19, especially massive gatherings during the puja days.
Sharma said that they are going to introduce drones to monitor the crowd at the various puja pandals. "The intention is to check the crowd flow closely and if we find anything wrong, immediate action will be taken. The surveillance will be started from Mahalaya and will end at immersion ghat. The SMP also planning to introduce an app full of emergency services for the people, so that anyone can get the solution if there are any difficulties," he said.
The police authority is also going to start online permission for the Durga puja organisers from Thursday.
Ahead of the festival, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee urged the puja committees in the state to celebrate the festival with the COVID protocols.
This year, Durga Puja will commence on October 11 and extend till October 15. (ANI)