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Featured Image: The Durga Idol with thousand hands atop a buffalo head at Deshapriya Park in south Kolkata on Wednesday evening. Photo: Anirudha Dutta

Newsmen Bureau

Kolkata, 05 October: DESHAPRIYA Park Durga Puja pandal, where a stampede was narrowly averted last year and was eventually shut to visitors, is showing signs of trouble this time as well!

Today is only Chaturthi, and the Durga Puja actually scheduled to begin with Saptami three two days later on 08 October. But the crowed of pandal hoppers at Deshapriya Park has brought traffic to a standstill on the entire stretch of Rash Behari Avenue and all the surrounding roads.

Last year, puja organisers at Deshapriya Park had built an 88 feet high Durga idol and publicised as world’s tallest Durga idol, drawing huge crowd not only from Bengal but from other states as well. This year, their idol has a thousand hands and is set atop a buffalo head and lying below it are a thousand severed heads of Asura.

Traffic has been standing bumper to bumper since afternoon today right from Rash Behari Avenue Crossing to Gariahat, on Sarat Bose Road, Southern Avenue, Tilak Road (Monoharpukur), and Amir Ali Avenue. Buses and cars are taking up to an hour to cover the little over 2 km distance from Gariahat to Rash Behari Avenue.

The traffic snarls continued till late into the night, prompting Kolkata Police commissioner Rajeev Kumar to pay a personal visit to Deshapriya Park to see the crowd and traffic management.

State panchayat minister Subrata Mukherjee, who is associated with Ekdalia puja committee nearby, did not suppress anger at the state of affairs. “I have not seen such traffic snarls on Rash Behari Avenue on Chathurthi ever before. The situation is such that even our police pilot cars are unable to move,” he said.

All concerned are keeping their fingers crossed on whether Deshapriya Park puja is required to be shut to visitors this year as well due to the surge in crowd. The scenario will get clear by Friday.