MYSORE: As he checked into a posh hotel with his family to ring in the New Year on Tuesday evening, Shivaraj (name changed) didn’t booze as was his wont. He opted to be a designated driver taking charge of dropping home his family members and friends safely. Though his family members partied till late in the night, the 30-plus Shivaraj took all of them home and dropped a couple of his friends at their residence.
This New Year, Mysore roads were a lot safer, thanks to the strict enforcement of road rules by city police. “Besides enforcement, I wanted to contribute my bit to make the city roads safer which made me opt for designated driving,” Shivaraj said. Though police have registered a little less than hundred cases of drunken driving, there were no reports of accidents on Wednesday even when Mysoreans partied hard to celebrate the New Year.
While many of the clubs cut down jubilation to pay their homage to the late maharaja of Mysore, Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wadiyar in early December, hotels and resorts kept their date with the celebrations.
A senior police official said they wanted the revellers to be responsible and used enforcement only as a deterrent. “We didn’t mean to dampen the celebration spirits and the revellers have behaved well,” he stated.
The main junctions including those in the central business districts were barricaded to curb the practice of rash driving while the cops patrolled the city roads through the night. “Our focus was to make the city roads safer both for the motorists and revellers. We wanted the people to reach home safely. That was our primary focus,” assistant commissioner of police (traffic) Prabhakar Bharki told TOI.
In all, 84 cases of drunken driving were booked in the last 24 hours, he stated.
According to Bharki, police identified vulnerable points and measures like barricading to cut down speed were adopted. Luckily, there were no major accidents, he stated. During the celebrations in 2013, two persons died in road accidents in the city.
Police used all available resources like public announcements to ask revellers to behave and reach home safely. Meanwhile, people made a beeline for the prominent temples in the city, including Sri Chamudneshwari temple, to offer prayers. Devotees thronged the Sri Yoganarasimhaswamy temple in Vijayanagar I Stage to seek God’s blessings. The temple management distributed about 2 lakh laddus.