While Tamil Nadu has put a brake on New Year celebrations and has denied permission to all social or cultural gatherings, the neighbouring state of Puducherry is inviting tourists to the city during the festive season, when a host of programmes will be held, albeit amid strict Covid restrictions.
Amid other programmes, the ‘LOLALAND’ event is expected to be the main attraction as Bollywood actress Sunny Leone is likely to make a special appearance on one of the days between December 30 and January 1. Organised by the Kamar Film Factory, the event will be held at the Old Port Dock.
According to a statement from the government, more than 40 music concerts of nationally- renowned bands and other live performances will be in place at popular destinations like Old Port and Paradise beach to entertain tourists on December 30, 31 and January 1.
Tourism Minister K Lakhsminarayan said municipal, police, public works and revenue officials will be on duty to provide top security to the tourists. The government is also planning to operate special buses.
G Sriramulu, the Director of Department of Public Health, Puducherry, told indianexpress.com that they are taking every measure to ensure Covid-19 appropriate behaviour is followed during the event days.
Listing out the measures, Sriramulu said, “Covid-19 vaccination is a must for tourists. This has been briefed earlier as well by the Lieutenant Governor and the Tourism Minister. Masks are mandatory. We are seeing people not duly following that and when we are spotting them at public places like beaches, we are insisting them to wear one. We have asked the police and other municipal departments to take action against those who violate Covid-19 guidelines. The government will set up checkpoints and has plans to set up camps to conduct thermal scanning and random RT-PCR tests,” he said.
Sriramulu added the health department has suggested the government to deploy two teams at all the border points like ECR, Jipmer, Cuddalore and Villupuram.
“We are making maximum efforts but there are multiple entry points to Puducherry. Since we cannot put teams at all the points, we are making sure the major ones are covered. Due to safety checks, there is a chance that it may lead to traffic congestion and vehicle stagnation might occur for up to 10 km in a couple of hours. So, we are discussing with the officials to find a solution. In the next couple of days, we will get a clearer picture,” he added.