With a host of political leaders set to attend the Brigade Rally on Saturday, the Kolkata Police has taken security measures including the deployment of 10,000 personnel as well as drones and CCTV cameras.
Police sources said the event, which will see leaders ranging from former prime ministers to serving chief ministers, will have a security cover on par with Republic Day parades. A special team has been formed with officers from the Special Task Force, special branch and Anti-Rowdy Squad. High-profile leaders will travel from their hotel to the rally venue via a dedicated corridor.
The rally venue will be divided into 22 zones, each supervised by a deputy commissioner-rank officer of Kolkata Police. Aside from police personnel, 3,000 party volunteers will also help man the crowd. Police will also be deployed at strategic points in the main arteries of the city.
“We are expecting a historic gathering. We are happy with the security arrangements made by the state administration,” said a TMC leader.
Sources said there will be seven entry points to the venue. Vehicles carrying TMC workers from south Kolkata will be parked at Kidderpore and Hazra; those from North Kolkata will be parked on Ganesh Chandra Avenue; those from Howrah at Kona Expressway. Only vehicles carrying VIP leaders will be allowed near the ground itself, said a police officer.
“TMC supporters will be coming from Howrah Bridge, Shyambazar, Kidderpore crossing, Hazra crossing, Sealdah station and Park Circus. Police will escort these rallies so everything goes as planned. Two DC-ranked officials will be deployed on EM Bypass to keep the movement of vehicles smooth,” said the officer.
Police said the movement of goods vehicles will be restricted within the city from 4 am to 8 pm on Saturday. No vehicles will be allowed to be parked in and around Victoria Memorial Hall, a portion of AJC Bose Road between Hastings crossings and Cathedral Road, Hospital Road, Queensway, Cathedral Road, Casuarina Avenue and Lovers Lane.
“Movement of vehicles and carts including trams are likely to be temporarily suspended or diverted… as and when necessary,” said a traffic police officer.
The police will also monitor the movement of vehicles of political leaders via GPS to ensure their safety, said sources.
Arrangements have been made for buses and other vehicles. Vehicles will be parked in Rangers ground and Bangabasi Ground and will be able to move from 2nd Hooghly bridge. Parking arrangements have also been made on Strand Road, Khiderpore road, Strand Bank North Road.
Daily commuters in Kolkata are likely to face a shortage of buses in certain routes as many buses have been hired by the Trinamool Congress to ferry its supporters.
A transport department source said 60 per cent of commuters travel by bus. Around 75 per cent of buses have already been hired, said a representative of a bus association.