The New Year’s Eve will not be same as the previous years. Security has been tightened around the Central Business District (CBD) areas, owing to the minor bomb blast that literally shook the City a few days before the New Year.
MG Road, Brigade Road and Church Street — the three popular stretches — will be cordoned off and people will not be allowed to pour on to these roads as they usually do on New Year’s Eve.
‘Don’t drink and drive’ is the warning that is being sent out by the traffic police. Sadly, most pubs and restaurants in and around MG Road will have to shut shop early as per the directions of the Bangalore City Police.
Like every year, the movement and parking of all kinds of vehicles has been restricted from December 31 to January 2 on MG Road, Brigade Road, Church Street, St Marks Road, Rest House Road and Residency Road.
The CBD area will have ten watch towers to enable the police to get a better view of the movement of people and vehicles within the City. Sandeep Patil, DCP (Central Division), informs that there will be not less than 1000 policemen from the central law and order division on the roads on New Year’s Eve.
“Each of the towers will have one constable armed with a night vision binocular and the other with a rifle. These binoculars are helpful to track long distance movements at night,” says Sandeep. He further states that in addition to the existing 60 cameras in CBD area put up by various commercial establishments, the Bangalore City Police have installed an additional 25 cameras at prominent locations.
“After the blast, we have started checking vehicles that have been parked in a
particular spot for a long time, we are checking lodges, and even frisking people.
People will be allowed only to move on MG Road and not enter the smaller roads,” he adds.
While the security has been tightened around the CBD areas, police vigilance is not as much as it should be in the far flung areas of the City that also have their fair share of pubs, restaurants and people visiting on New Year’s Eve.
A senior police officer, who didn’t want to be quoted, points out that Bangalore City Police has a shortage of staff
“The City has a population of over one crore but the police staff strength is only 18,000 which is too less. We need a civil police staff strength of at least 25,000 to be able to spread them across the City and manage in the case of emergencies. Now, we are struggling to manage with the given police force with most of them working on double shifts,” the officer says.
When asked why the government is not recruiting more police personnel, the officer informs, “There are at least 16,000 application forms pending. Of this, 8,000 have been approved but this is not enough.”
Most people prefer to party on the outskirts of the City. House parties too are popular and those who are a bit adventurous are all set to hit the City’s restaurants and pubs to usher in the New Year but with a lot of caution. DJ Jasmeet, who will be performing at a star hotel, points out that every New Year's Eve is special and each one is different.
“For me, New Year’s Eve is all about upping the entertainment factor. People spend a lot of money to see us play and it is only fair to give them their money’s worth,” he says. When asked about the security arrangements, Jasmeet says, “A special three-tier security layout is planned this year. With help from the local police and private security agencies, we are leaving nothing to chance.”
Popular musician Bruce Lee Mani concludes saying that he has worked through the year and this is the first time in many years that he has taken a break between Christmas and New Year. “With such tight security across the City, I would rather stay home and ring in the New Year with a close bunch of friends.”