Over 3 lakh people descended on the Marina Beach to celebrate Kaanum Pongal with their families on Thursday. Visitors began arriving at the beach since morning and the crowd kept swelling till the evening.
Special MTC buses were operated to Anna Square from various parts of the city for the convenience of people heading to the beach, while people from the suburbs and rural areas around the city reached the Marina on trucks and vans.
Many were relaxing under the trees on the promenade, chewing on sugarcanes, as beachside shops and vendors made brisk business.
The police had made elaborate arrangements to manage the crowd. Barricades were in place from the Anna Square bus stand till Labour Statue to confine pedestrians to footpaths.
Over 500 police personnel monitored the crowd from Anna Square to Light House throughout the day.
According to a police official, mobile patrolling was undertaken on special patrol vehicles. The crowd was monitored from 10 watch towers. Two stages, one each near the Labour Statue and the swimming pool, were erected for communication. Five child helplines were set up to handle missing children complaints. Over 10,000 children were issued identity cards and balloons carrying their parent’s contact numbers were given to them. Traffic was effectively managed and crowds began thinning by late evening. The other destination where a section of the Kaanum Pongal crowd flocked to was the Valluvar Kottam, where the Sea World Expo 2014 is underway. The exotic array of sea life drew inquisitive kids, while shutterbugs with smartphones and cameras found it the perfect place to capture some colourful memories. Those like Shriram, who came along with his friends, enjoyed the carnival-like atmosphere besides trying out other things at the exhibition at the other end of the hall.
By noon, the crowds swelled and bargains rang out, with many negotiating on jewellery and clothes. The food court had almost everything to satisfy everyone’s taste buds like fresh fruit juices, salads, ragi dosai, sandwiches, chaat items, kolukattai, popcorn, sugarcane juice and even fried fish.
People began to leave by evening, but not before catching a glimpse of the Tiruvalluvar Statue and the Thirukkural Hall.