VISAKHAPATNAM: It was a litmus test for the police personnel deployed in the city on Sunday as the crowd turnout for the Operational Demonstration and International City Parade was way beyond expectation. While 1.5 lakh passes were issued for the event, around six lakh people turned up at the Beach Road to watch the events live.
Police could not control the crowds in some areas as they were almost four times, beyond expectation. However, no stampede or untoward incident took place because of timely diversion of spectators by police by monitoring through CCTV cameras. Over-crowding led many pass-holders to watch the events standing at the barricades leading to the venue and some were even turned back.
The Naval Coastal Battery, one of the entry points for the events, witnessed lakhs of people barging inside without valid passes. Police personnel were unable to control the crowd, who even damaged the Door Frame Metal Detectors (DFMDs) in a rush to reach the venue. The unexpected situation kept police on their toes for almost an hour, who finally brought the situation under control by diverting the crowd through other entry points which were initially restricted.
Finally when the event started, almost all the entry points to the Beach Road were opened to the public.
Such was the rush at the event venue that barricades at a few enclosures at the sea were even broken. Every nook and corner of the entire stretch of Beach Road was packed with people and people even stood on medians near the NTR statue to watch the event after PM Narendra Modi reached his bullet-proof cabin.
Over-crowding also led to the scarcity of water sachets at several enclosures.
Traffic congestions were witnessed at all the major junctions leading to Beach Road since 1 pm on Sunday. Maddilapalem, Mosque Junction near Spencers, Jagadamba Complex, Siripuram Junction, MVP Double Road, Venkojipalem, Assilmetta, AIR Junction, Pandimetta Junction and several other roads leading to the beach were jammed. At the end of the event traffic jams were witnessed on some stretches extending up to kilometres.