Wednesday, April 17, 2024

From Metros to Towns: India welcomes New Year 2024 with joyful revelry


New Delhi: As the clock struck midnight, India embraced the arrival of 2024 with exuberant celebrations spanning various cities and regions across the country. From the bustling streets of Mumbai adorned with festive lights at iconic spots like the Gateway of India and Marine Drive, to the spiritual sanctuaries of Thane’s Siddhivinayak and Mumbadevi temples, the New Year’s Eve was marked with joyous gatherings and religious observances.

In Ayodhya, at the revered Lata Mangeshkar Chowk, chants of ‘Jai Shri Ram’ echoed as locals and visitors convened to ring in the New Year with fervor. Simultaneously, Goa’s coastline witnessed the convergence of thousands as tourists and locals gathered along the picturesque beaches to witness the last sunset of 2023 and partake in midnight masses, amidst heightened police presence ensuring safety and order.

Meanwhile, cities like Delhi, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Chennai, Srinagar and Hyderabad celebrated with equal enthusiasm, hosting a myriad of events and gatherings. From grand fireworks displays to cultural events and parties, these urban centers vibrated with the collective excitement of welcoming the new year.

Across the nation, from north to south and east to west, the spirit of celebration blended seamlessly with vigilant security measures, ensuring a harmonious transition into the promising year ahead.

Thousands of Mumbaikars gathered at the Gateway of India, Marine Drive, Girgaum Chowpatty and other places on Sunday night to ring in Year 2024 amid tight security arrangements.

Many chose to visit religious places, including the famous Siddhivinayak and Mumbadevi temples, and churches.

In Thane, Chief Minister Eknath Shinde welcomed New Year by participating in a blood donation camp in the night. He extended greetings to people on the occasion.

Mumbaikars converged at various public places with families and friends to join the New Year bash. Get-togethers were also organised in various housing societies in the city and on terraces of buildings.

Restaurants and bars in the megapolis were teeming with patrons till late night.

The Central Railway operated four special suburban services in the Mumbai division on New Year’s Eve to cater to the rush of people who travel to south Mumbai and other places for celebrations. Out of the four specials, two ran on the mainline, and the other two on the Harbour line.

Police made elaborate security arrangements to avoid any untoward incident.

Security check-ups were placed at various places in the city and some roads were barricaded. Action was taken against some motorists who were driving drunk and for other violations. Two-wheelers riders without helmets were fined, officials said.

No untoward incident was reported in the city and celebrations passed off peacefully, an official said, adding that the tight bandobast will remain in place till 5 AM on Monday.

“11,000 police personnel, 2,000 officers, 22 deputy commissioners of police and 45 assistant commissioners of police were deployed for security,” said Satyanarayan Chowdhary, Joint Commissioner (Law and Order).

He said some 20 platoons of the State Reserve Police Force (SRPF), 15 platoons of the Law and Order Reserve, Bomb Detection and Disposal Squad, and Quick Response Teams (QRTs) were in place to deal with emergencies and maintain peace.

Around 5,000 CCTV cameras kept an eye on celebrations, including at heavily patronised sites like Gateway of India, Marine Drive, and beaches among others, with live footage being monitored from the main and regional control rooms.

Police intensified patrolling in the city, he added.

More than 1,200 traffic policemen and 150 officers were deployed on roads to monitor celebrations, Joint Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Pravin Padwal said and urged people not to drink and drive.

While some roads remained closed, traffic was diverted at other places.

Places like Marine Lines, Worli Seaface, and Juhu beach were declared no-parking zones to ensure a smooth flow of traffic.

Scores of people gathered at Ayodhya’s famous Lata Mangeshkar Chowk on Sunday to ring in the new year amid chants of ‘Jai Shri Ram’.

A group of local residents began streaming in by 11 pm on Sunday night at the iconic roundabout to click selfies and photos.

As soon as the clock struck 12 am, a motley group came together and cheered ‘Happy New Year’ and some later chanted ‘Jai Shri Ram’.

Midnight masses in churches and the presence of thousands of tourists thronging beaches marked New Year celebrations in the coastal state of Goa.

Visitors began pouring into seafront areas across the state, which has a 105-km-long coastline, on Sunday evening to catch a glimpse of the last sunset of 2023.

Goa police had increased their presence on the beaches and also on roads leading to the coastal belt.

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