The Gateway of India, a popular tourist hotspot in south Mumbai, wore a largely deserted look on the New Years eve on Thursday as people kept away from the venue in view of the COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions placed on public gatherings by the authorities.
The iconic sea-facing British-era monument, which used to be chock-a-block with New Year revellers in normal times, had thin presence of citizens and heavy deployment of police on the last day of 2020 as Mumbai prepared to ring in 2021.
Due to COVID-19, New Year celebrations have been a low key affair this time with people largely staying indoors and returning home early in view of the night curfew.
Mumbai is under curfew from 11 pm to 6 am till January 5. Besides the Gateway of India, other popular destinations in Mumbai for New Year revellers were also largely empty.
A heavy police deployment was witnessed at the Gateway of India.
“There is no crowd this year…in the past people in thousands use to flock the Gateway of India on the New Year eve,” said a police official on duty at the spot.
“People used to start gathering at the venue around sunset every year and we had to disperse them after 12 am. But today very few people came. I havent seen such a scenario,” he said.
Police were checking people coming to the Gateway of India and ensuring they followed COVID-19-related norms.
Barricades were put up to regulate flow of people and road traffic.
Same situation was witnessed at Marine Drive, Girgaum Chowpatty in South Mumbai and other locations in the city, which are known for gatherings on the New Year’s eve.
Considering prohibitory orders and the night curfew, most people chose to stay at home, party with families and order food online, said Pradeep Thakur, manager of a pub.
Mumbai police personnel were on the streets in strength to maintain law and order and prevent any untoward incidents.
Traffic police were also seen on the roads to curb drunken and rash driving cases.
The Mumbai Police are on “high alert” and have put in place “anti-sabotage and anti-terror” measures considering the threat to the financial capital during the New Year celebrations, an official said earlier in the day.
We have put in place anti-terror and anti-sabotage measures in view of the New Year celebrations,” Mumbai police spokesperson DCP S Chaitanya said.