City Bureau

One lakh visitors at Island Grounds; Guindy Park draws its share too

CHENNAI: The Chennai Trade Fair at Island Grounds was deluged with people on `Kaanum Pongal' on Monday.

People thronged the fair all day, but the crowd swelled in the evening after six. Police said many people visited both the Marina and the fair.

"We had over 50,000 people on Sunday. Today, it was certainly double the figure," said S. Baskar, manager of the All India Tourist and Trade fair.

"Two hundred policemen were deputed in and around the area. Two inspectors and 15 constables in mufti monitored the crowd," said R. Balasubramanian, Assistant Commissioner, who was at the spot.

Mariamma, a resident of K.K. Nagar said she brought her family to the fair every year. "We came around three in the afternoon. Though it is crowded on Kaanum Pongal day, it is a lot of fun to be out with my family."

Guindy Park also attracted thousands of visitors. "Last year we had 21,000 visitors on Kaanum Pongal day. This year we had 31,662," said Ashish Kumar Srivastava, Wildlife Warden, Chennai. "Since Monday was not a government holiday, we did not expect so many people," he added. Police and fire service personnel helped the park officials in crowd regulation.

Expectedly, all cinema houses in the city and suburbs were full, especially those featuring the `Pongal release' movies.

Monday was also the last day of the Chennai Book Fair. This year, the number of visitors went up each day, and on the last day there was very little space to move around at the Quaid-e-Millet College for Women , the venue of the book fair.

Policemen and Home Guards were deployed at all crowded locations to regulate crowds and traffic.

At the junction of Kamarajar Salai and Wallajah Road, a large number of people arrived by vans, trucks, mini-lorries and auto-rickshaws, and police had a tough time coaxing drivers to move the vehicles away so that pedestrians could move freely.

This year, the Beach road had an added attraction: the artificial waterfall near the Labour statue.