CHENNAI: People thronging the Marina for Kaanum Pongal were in for a surprise when drones, self balancing vehicles, police personnel in large numbers and volunteers were at hand to ensure their safety.
The gloomy weather did little to dampen the spirits of the revellers and police estimate more than three lakh visited the Marina on Friday. The crowd started arriving before noon. People also visited Elliots and Neelankarai beaches, said the police.
Technology comes handy
The city police employed five drones and when it flew low people were seen waving and waiting for their turn of the live telecast. The self balancing vehicles with sirens also caught the eye and many were seen clicking selfies.To make sure no children got separated from the parents, police gave identity tags that had names and mobile phone numbers of the parents. The officials at 11 help centres on the beach were constantly on their toes. According to the police, around 35 persons went missing and were found by the help centres. Personnel were deployed to announce names of missing people and create awareness about not littering.
Never too young or old
A group of men between the age of 55 and 60 wearing neon radiating vests were involved in monitoring traffic at the Labour Statue along with the police. The men were from the voluntary group called Consumers Council of India. “Services like this gives us satisfaction of our social responsibility,” said Narasimha, a group member.
A 10-member team from Stand Up Paddling (SUP) supported the police near the Labour Statue to prevent drowning. Aakash (15) from Triplicane fishermen community has hearing and speech impairment and is practising for the upcoming Paralympics. He was also at hand to help prevent drowning, said Joint Commissioner of Police (East), R Sudhakar.
His coach, Satish, said Aakash saved three people last year. The Joint Commissioner of Police appreciated the boy for his service and congratulated him for his entry in Paralympics.
Inspector Seetharaman attached to Triplicane police station headed awareness about Kavalan SOS app. People entering beach were educated about the app and told to use it during emergencies. A helium balloon with Kavalan SOS on it was also seen. Children were given a band and instructed to remind parents to install the app.