More police to be deployed in Little India over Deepavali weekend for crowd and traffic control

Large crowds are expected for Deepavali celebrations along Serangoon Road, especially on Sunday, the eve of Deepavali. ST PHOTO: GIN TAY

SINGAPORE - With heavy human and vehicle traffic expected in Little India this weekend, there will be more boots on the ground to regulate traffic and assist motorists.

Large crowds are expected for the Deepavali celebrations along Serangoon Road, especially on Sunday, the eve of Deepavali.

Motorists are advised to make alternative travel arrangements and to drive with caution. Strict enforcement action will also be taken against illegal parking.

This is according to a police advisory sent on Thursday.

The advisory also included a reminder that public drinking will not be allowed in Little India from 10.30pm on Friday to 7am next Tuesday.

Retailers that sell alcohol after the permitted trading hours may have their liquor licences revoked.

Little India has been declared a Liquor Control Zone under the provisions of the Liquor Control (Supply and Consumption) Act 2015.

The same rules will apply to the Liquor Control Zone in Geylang over the long weekend.

Under the Act, those found guilty of drinking liquor in a public place during no-drinking periods in the zones will face enhanced penalties.

If convicted, offenders face a fine of up to $1,500. A repeat offender can be jailed for up to 4½ months, fined up to $3,000, or both.

The public is also warned against setting off improvised explosive devices that are constructed using sparklers. Anyone caught setting off improvised explosive devices may be convicted of negligent conduct with respect to explosive substances.

If convicted, the offender faces up to a year in jail, a fine of up to $5,000, or both.

Should the act hurt others, one may be liable for voluntarily causing hurt with heated or explosive substances. If convicted, the offender faces up to seven years in jail, or a fine, or caning, or any combination of such punishments.

The police said they will take strict enforcement action against offenders who discharge fireworks illegally as well. Illegal possession and discharge of fireworks is an offence punishable by a jail term of up to two years, a fine of up to $5,000, or both. 

The importation of fireworks is also a serious offence punishable by imprisonment of at least six months and up to two years, and with caning of up to six strokes.

A boundary map of the Little India Liquor Control Zone (LCZ). Singapore Police Force

Mr Gurcharan Singh, chairman of Indian Restaurants Association Singapore, said he expects large crowds over the weekend because there will be migrant workers on their days off and Singaporeans who need to do last-minute shopping before Deepavali, which falls on Monday this year, but he is not worried.

“In terms of safety, the authorities know what they’re doing, they’ve been handling the crowds quite well for years and years,” said Mr Singh, who has been operating his restaurant, Jaggi’s Northern Indian Cuisine, in Little India for almost 30 years.

Honorary secretary of Little India Shopkeepers and Heritage Association Ruthirapathy Parthasarathy, who has a shop in Little India Arcade, said that more people have come to Little India in the past two weeks to soak up the festive atmosphere, have good food and shop.

“Shopkeepers will be keen to have more crowds because they have trickled down in the past two years during the pandemic,” he said. “We’re looking forward to the crowds.”

He added that it would be good if more people came in the morning or afternoon, not just at night, so the crowds are more evenly spread throughout the day.

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