The Greater Chennai Police have asked the public to welcome the new year safely at homes. All the restaurants, bars, star hotels, resorts, including beach resorts, within the limit of the Greater Chennai Police have been ordered to shut by 10 pm. A couple of days ago, the Tamil Nadu government issued an order banning public celebrations on both New Year’s Eve (December 31) and on New Year (January 1).
According to the release from the government, public entry to the beaches has been restricted on both days. “On the occasion of New Year, there is a possibility of large gatherings from December 31 evening in beaches and on roads and this might lead to a spike in Covid-19 cases. In other countries, the second wave of new positive cases are being reported and due to this situation, there is a need to intensify Covid-19 containment measures,” the release read.
According to Greater Chennai Police Commissioner Mahesh Kumar Agarwal, 10,000 police personnel will be on duty to make sure there are no gatherings and unlawful incidents.
All the flyovers are set to be closed by evening on December 31 to curb the vehicular movement. As many as 300 police check posts will be set up across the city, including the stretches like Old Mahabalipuram Road, East Coast Road, GST Roads, Outer Ring Roads where the public are expected to gather in large numbers. The police said strict action will be initiated against people indulging in life-threatening stunts like bike-race along the beach roads.
Speaking to indianexpress.com, Mamallapuram Inspector Vadivel Murugan said the barricades have been set up and the public are requested not to enter the beach areas. “As per the government order, people are not allowed to enter the beach today (December 31) and tomorrow. Hotels alongside the Mamallapuram areas are being monitored. In places like Muttukadu, special police check posts have been set up to allow people only with proper ID proof and have the purpose to go through that route,” he said.
Meanwhile, many of them have started to flock to neighbouring Puducherry where celebrations are allowed following safety protocols. The Chengalpattu, Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur district police officers have been alerted as there might be traffic congestion by Thursday evening.
Despite Lieutenant Governor Kiran Bedi’s request to the government to cancel the celebrations, Chief Minister Narayanswamy was firm on his decision to allow tourists to celebrate freely. Bedi on her Facebook page posted a video saying that there are no celebrations in Puducherry and asked people from Tamil Nadu and others not to enter the Union Territory. “Please stay at home and celebrate the New Year,” Bedi said.
However, Chief Minister Nayaraswamy said the Covid-19 infection is under control in Puducherry and the Governor doesn’t have the right to impose a ban on New Year celebrations after the clearance from State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA). He added that Puducherry is interlinked with French culture and it has a separate identity. “Except for parties in hotels and resorts, the public can gather at the beach by following SOPs including wearing masks and maintaining social distancing,” Narayanaswamy said.
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