The city police is setting up watch-towers on rooftops and balconies to step up security during the four-day Durga Puja festival beginning here next week. City police commissioner Gautam Mohan Chakraborty led a team on Saturday, going around the puja pandals coming up in the city.

“The need to step up security cannot be overstressed”, Mr. Chakraborty said. He said that organisers of community pujas in the city, especially the ones that attract huge crowds have been appealed to install close-circuit televisions, which will be monitored round-the-clock to check for any suspicious movement or any unidentified objects. “The police will also take the initiative to set up CCTVs which we will monitor,” he said.

Around 2,000 community Durga Pujas are held which are thronged by the multitudes who come from within the city and outside to visit the pandals which showcase stunning craftsmanship.

However such crowds give the city police nightmares in traffic management, with heightened security concern expanding their duty list. “It is part of our duty to ensure that visitors have a good time, but we have asked the organisers to rein in more volunteers to help the police”, Mr. Chakraborty said.

On the watch towers, which were erected for the first time in the city during New Year festivities last year in the wake of the 26/11 attacks, Mr. Chakraborty said that while balconies and rooftops adjacent to the major puja pandals would be utilised for keeping a vigil on the crowd, bamboo-scaffoldings would be erected by the police wherever necessary to act as watch towers. Mr. Chakraborty who was accompanied by officials of the State fire-department as well as private sector power utility CESC, which provides the electricity was also checking the specifications laid down by the Calcutta High Court on pandal-structures and the obstructions that they were creating on roads.

Around 2,000 community Durga Pujas are held in the city