VISAKHAPATNAM: Mist played spoilsport for scores of Vizagites who arrived at the Beach Road to witness the first rehearsal of the Fleet Review as part of the International Fleet Review 2016 (IFR-16) preparations in Visakhapatnam on Sunday. Though the Naval authorities conducted a practice session of the International City Parade in the evening, unprecedented crowd was witnessed at the Beach Road sending the police into a tizzy.
On Sunday morning, the Indian Navy announced to hold its first rehearsal of ‘the Fleet Review at sea close to the RK Beach’ to give a event preview for the benefit of locals. As the event received much publicity, people started pouring in as early as at 8 am even though the event was scheduled at 9.30 am. However, heavy mist spread over the sea made it difficult for the enthusiastic public to witness the happenings in the sea. The mist decreased the visibility beyond 500 metre forcing the naval authorities to hold the rehearsals in the deep sea where the visibility was better.
Later, the city police were informed that a practice session of the International City Parade will be held after 2 pm and repeated later in the evening. The same was conveyed to public on the Beach Road through announcements and many stayed back to enjoy the proceedings. Though the partial demonstration of the City Parade enthralled the visitors, the long day turned out to be a disappointment for many. As more people started driving down to the Beach Road as the day being Sunday, traffic moved at a snail’s pace. All the parking spaces on both sides of the roads leading to the Beach Road were packed with vehicles increasing the traffic congestion and forcing the traffic police to tow them away.
Two more rehearsals are expected to be held on February 2 and 4 before the main event commences on February 4. The police authorities assisted by the naval personnel had a hard time in controlling the crowd as well as the traffic. Senior officials said that they would be improving the traffic plan and also parking arrangements for the main event scheduled to be held on February 7 when about 2.5 lakh people are estimated to be in and around the Beach Road area.