Chennai

Kaanum Pongal: When Chennai’s sights were overwhelmed

A helicopter from the Indian Coast Guard and police personnel on horseback and ATVs kept an eye on the crowds at the Marina. Segway-like vehicles were also deployed.

A helicopter from the Indian Coast Guard and police personnel on horseback and ATVs kept an eye on the crowds at the Marina. Segway-like vehicles were also deployed.   | Photo Credit: K. V. Srinivasan

Tight security measures put to the test

Kaanum Pongal this year was no different from last year, with crowds thronging beaches, parks, the Vandalur zoo and the exhibition centre on Friday.

Marina Beach, Elliot’s Beach in Besant Nagar and the Thiruvanmiyur beach remained the most favoured attractions in the city.

The Mass Rapid Transit System and buses bound for Anna Square were packed with people bound for Marina Beach.

To tackle the huge crowds thronging the Marina, the city police had made fool-proof security arrangements — installing watch towers, temporary police help booths, deploying fire and rescue vehicles and stationing trained swimmers at various places. The police had also put up temporary barricades on the shore of the Marina to prevent visitors from entering the sea.

A senior police official posted at the Marina Beach said this year, the system to make more tags available for children, to ensure they are not lost in crowds, had helped reunite over 25 children with their families. He said over four lakh people were estimated to have visited Marina Beach.

Segway-like vehicles were also deployed for police to keep an eye on the huge crowd gathered at the Marina beach.

Segway-like vehicles were also deployed for police to keep an eye on the huge crowd gathered at the Marina beach.   | Photo Credit: K.V. Srinivasan

 

A senior police official said in addition to various regular security measures, a helicopter from the Indian Coast Guard was pressed into service to conduct aerial surveys of the beaches, at scheduled intervals, even as police personnel on horses and all-terrain vehicles routinely moved around to provide help to the visitors. “Self-motor vehicles (Segway-like) and five drones were deployed at the Marina Beach,” he said.

The Metropolitan Transport Corporaiton (MTC), despite it being a holiday, operated nearly 500 special buses, in addition to the regular ones, specifically to various tourist destinations in and around the city, on Friday.

A senior MTC official said more than 500 special buses, in addition to 1,500 regular buses, were operated to important tourist places, including Anna Square, Guindy Children’s Park, Besant Nagar, Thiruvanmiyur, Vandalur Zoo, Kovalam, Muttukadu, and theme parks on the ECR and Tambaram.

The MTC also deployed ticket-checking staff at important bus stops to prevent ticket-less travel.

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Printable version | Feb 20, 2020 11:41:22 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/kaanum-pongal-when-chennais-sights-were-overwhelmed/article30589955.ece

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