Cyclone Thane clouds year-end revelry in Bangalore

December 30th, 2011 - 5:32 pm ICT by IANS  

Bangalore, Dec 30 (IANS) Year-end revelers in this tech hub, home to thousands of young IT professionals from across India, have turned weather watchers as cyclone Thane threatens to rain out the New Year-eve bash.

Though over 350 km away from the Bay of Bengal, Bangalore invariably catches a cold if cyclones hit neighbouring Tamil Nadu coast, particularly Chennai.

Dark clouds and steady drizzle greeted Bangaloreans Friday morning and the met department forecast that the gloomy and wet weather will be the scene in the city over the next two days.

It is not only Bangalore that has been hit by heavy clouds and rain from the cyclone.

Neighbouring districts of Mysore, Mandya, Chamarajanagar, Kolar and Chikaballapura are also in for heavy rains Friday and Saturday, according to the met department in Bangalore.

The cyclone effect dampened the cheers by Bangalorean revellers Thursday after Excise Minister M.P. Renukacharya announced that bars will remain open till 1 a.m. of Jan 1 to allow people to bid farewell to 2011 and welcome 2012 in high spirits.

The liquor joints in Karnataka down shutters at 11 p.m. and every December it is a battle of wits between bar owners and revellers on the one hand and the government and police on the other on extending the timing on Dec 31.

Generally the joints want to keep their counters open beyond 2 a.m. and after a lot of haggling, usually the 1 a.m. deadline is accepted by the government.

The popular shopping areas and youth hangouts of M.G. Road and Brigade Road swarm with youngsters on New Year eve with thousands packed like sardines on the just over one km stretch of two roads to greet the new year.

To accommodate the crowd, police have banned vehicle parking on the two roads from 4 p.m. Saturday and vehicular movement on them from 8 p.m.

Bangaloreans will have added attraction this year - the small stretch of metro that runs just over six km from M.G. Road to Byappanahalli in the east. The trains will chug till 2 a.m. of Jan 1 with service every 15 minutes, Metro authorities have announced.

The Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation that runs the city bus service will operate its fleet on select routes till 3 a.m. of Jan 1.

“Everything seems to be in place but for Thane effect and me and my friends, like so many thousands in Bangalore, hope clouds will clear by Saturday evening,” said S. Sudhindra, a software engineer with a major Indian firm.

City Police Commissioner B.G. Jyothiprakash Mirji has warned of strict action against drunken driving. He has also assured of heavy police deployment on M.G. Road and Brigade Road to ensure safety of women as many join the revelry.

To warn public from binge drinking on New Year eve, the Indian Psychiatric Society organized a march in Bangalore with Law Minister S. Suresh Kumar taking part in it.

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