The Siliguri Metropolitan Police (SMP) is likely to fly drones during Durga Puja as part of its security arrangements.

Senior police officers today said that camera-fitted UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) will be used as per the situation for crowd management and to maintain law and order. According to them, it will be an extra layer of surveillance.

“We may deploy drones during Durga Puja based on the situation to monitor traffic congestion, crowd management and law and order,” said the deputy commissioner, traffic, of the SMP, Anupam Singh.

The device will be handled by a group of trained personnel who can control their flight and keep capturing moving images.

The deputy commissioner (Headquarters), SMP, Joy Tudu, said security arrangements had been made to ensure peaceful Durga Puja.

“Special drive, highway patrolling and naka checks have been started. There will be special police teams to tackle the law and order situation. Round-the-clock vigil will be in place and CCTV cameras will be installed at 40 strategic points. There will be 26 police assistance booths,” Mr Tudu said.

There will be around 618 community Durga Pujas under the SMP this year.

Police officers said mobile teams, quick response teams, flying squads, and plainclothes policemen will be engaged.

They said that so far there has been no specific intelligence input regarding any possible threat to the town during the Puja.

Durga Puja guide map unveiled

State tourism minister Gautam Deb unveiled the ‘Puja Guide Map-2020’, jointly prepared by the SMP and the West Bengal Tourism Department in Siliguri today. In order to ensure smooth traffic, movement of vehicles in the town has been restricted from today, and the same will be in place till 30 October. Emergency and important telephone numbers of the police control room, traffic police control room, fire brigade, West Bengal State Electricity Distribution Company Limited, and contact details of government tourist lodges in north Bengal and tourist information centres, and names of Durga Puja mandaps have been mentioned in the map.

While appealing to people to adhere to health protocols, Mr Deb said the Onam incident should not repeat here during Durga Puja.

“We should strictly follow the guidelines by using masks and maintaining proper physical distance. We should be very cautious so that the post-Onam situation is not repeated,” he said.

In Kerala, Covid-19 cases had gone up to more than 11,000 a day after the Onam festival.

Health specialists fear that the state could face a similar situation after Durga Puja if there are laxities.