CHENNAI: With beaches and major parks in the city — popular Kaanum Pongal destinations — closed down perhaps for the first time in decades, the city corporation has instructed theatre and mall owners to take crowd control measures.
“Theatres are being inspected. We have asked mall managements to put in place crowd management measures,” a senior corporation official told Express. A zonal-level official said that staff and police were on the lookout for crowds in popular hotspots. “Our zonal staff know where the usual hotspots are that crowds gather. We keep an eye on those areas and also inspect commercial complexes,” the official said.
For residents who usually celebrate Kaanum Pongal with friends on the beaches, this year has seen a change. “My family and I have decided to go out for dinner today in the nearby mall and take a drive around the city, keeping up with the tradition of going out. Last year, it was the beach. Hopefully next year, things will be back to normal,” said V Kiran Kumar, a chartered accountant.
While some may have cancelled their plans due to the pandemic, another family said that their Kaanum Pongal celebrations involved taking a walk around the neighbourhood lake. “The walking course around the Puzhuthivakkam lake was open. We went for an unhurried walk around the lake which spans 1.5 kilometres,” said Bhuvana Durai, a resident of Thilakar avenue, Perungudi zone.
Corporation officials said that there was no unusual crowding on walking paths around lakes and other public spaces. “In fact, there was lesser crowd than usual,” said the corporation official.