Hawk-eye vigil for Nehru Trophy; private drones prohibited over Punnamada on race day

Nehru Trophy boat race. File Photo.

Alappuzha: A heavy posse of police will be deployed both on the land and over water to ensure the smooth conduct of the 69th Nehru Trophy Boat race on Saturday.

Punnamada, where the boat race will be held, and the nearby regions, have been divided into 15 sectors for security and traffic arrangements. At least 50 boats will patrol the Punnamada while the entire region will be under CCTV surveillance, the authorities said.

Strict action, including arrests, will be taken against those who jump into the water and try to disrupt the competition in any manner, the authorities said.

Video cameras have also been installed to detect violations of rule during the boat race.

Only those with passes will be allowed entry to the pavilion side. If anyone leaves the pavilion before the race finishes, they won’t be permitted re-entry. No boats, including speed boats, are allowed to enter the tracks after 8 am on race day. The boats that violate the restrictions will be seized, and the license suspended for a minimum of three years, police officials said.

Also, no boats will be allowed in the stretch from DTPC Jetty to Punnamada Lake. Those with passes need to reach the venue before 10 am. Restrictions will be imposed on vehicular movements through the town from 6 am onwards. Parking of vehicles won’t be allowed in the stretch from North of General Hospital to Kaichundy junction and Kommady junction.

There is also a ban on the operation of drone cameras, except for official use, from 6 am till the end of the race on the day.

Meanwhile, Alappuzha District Collector Harita V Kumar said all arrangements are in place for the smooth conduct of the event.

“For the first time since 2017, NTBR has returned to its original schedule of August 12 as stipulated by the state’s tourism calendar. Although the event is not being organized as a part of the Champions Boat League this time, we could bring in huge changes on the promotion side, as manifested in the form of a rise in ticket sales and sponsorships,” the official said.

According to her, the bonus and maintenance grants for boat clubs have increased by ten percent. Taking serious note of the accident that took place during the Chambakkulam Moolam boat race, regulations have been imposed on speed boats and drones. Those venturing into the Lake during the race will be arrested.

As part of showcasing the NTBR trophy to the public, a trophy tour was undertaken in Alappuzha on Thursday with great enthusiasm. Flagged off from the Alappuzha sub-collector office in the morning, the trophy was taken across different parts of the district before concluding at the Alappuzha outpost in the evening.

A stunting exhibition by professional bike riders too was staged on Alappuzha Beach later in the evening. The event was organized by the NTBR society, in association with Pulsar mania 2.0. A similar performance of motorcycles will be staged on a specially-arranged Jankar on race day as well.

As part of the event promotion, Municipal Chairperson K K Jayamma released the NTBR logo made of coir. The event was held at coir park in front of the Coir Corporation office here.

Ushering to the flagship event, the organizers conducted a Vachipattu competition at the Town Square here, which saw participants staging spirited performances. The event, which witnessed participation from 50 teams in three different categories, also generated an overwhelming response from the crowd.

The boat clubs, meanwhile, have entered into their last leg of preparations and shifted the race boats to the banks for polishing and other maintenance. Upon competition of the works, the boats will be towed to the event venue on race day.

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