Special police officers (SPOs) will play a major role in maintaining law and order at the puja mandaps, managing traffic along the routes as well as undertaking surveillance during the Durga Puja as the City police are faced with all possibilities of depleted security deployment this year.
The SPOs would be drawn from local youths and deputed at their own puja mandaps. Every mandap has been asked to provide about 10 to 15 capable youths for the purpose. They would be trained and stationed at the mandaps to carry out the police activities. Besides, as many volunteers would also be selected and engaged in assisting them.
According to sources, the security deployment in Cuttack city this year is all set to come down drastically. While the city police had sought provisioning of at least 60 platoons, all signs suggest that they would be getting only 28 platoons of armed police.
For the immersion ceremony, which is as sensitive as extravagant and has a history of volatility, too the deployment is poised for a drastic cut down. For a requirement of about 50 platoons, the expected deployment is 38. There would be a reduction of about 35 to 40 per cent across all ranks of officers and personnel, sources said.
The cut down, though, is on account of increasing need of security deployment in other places. Across towns and cities in the State, the scale of Durga Puja celebrations is increasing at a fast pace. As the demand for security deployment increases in other places, Cuttack city is facing the heat, sources added.
The shortfall is sought to be made by the SPOs and volunteers. “The SPOs being local youths can effectively deal with the situation. They will not only work to manage the crowd at the mandaps but also regulate traffic and undertake monitoring. They would also regulate the different cultural programmes held at the mandaps. In times of trouble too, they can pacify the crowd or mob more successfully,” a senior official said.
The Commissionerate Police are also set to make extensive use of CCTV surveillance all through the Puja and immersion. CCTV cameras would be placed at strategic locations.
While College Square, Ranihat, Mangalabag and Mastan Dargah would have two cameras each, Buxi Bazaar would have four, Tinkoniabagicha three.
The cameras would also be installed at Chandni Chowk, Balu Bazaar, Gourishankar park, Darghabazaar, Manikghosh Bazaar, Firingi Bazaar and Debigada ghat.
The surveillance would be carried out by three control rooms, including the main control room at the office of the DCP.
The Durga Puja would be from October 21 to 24 with the immersion ceremony to be held on October 25.