Delhiites let their hair down to ring in New Year

New Delhi: Car horns screeched, people wearing fancy masks hugged each other and danced together on streets – Delhiites let their hair down to usher in 2012 with new hopes and aspirations. As the clock struck 0000 hours, hundreds of people who thronged popular markets, malls and other hotspots greeted each other.

Connaught Place, the epicenter of capital`s celebrations, was abuzz with people dressed in their festive best. The India Gate and other hotspots were teeming with teenagers, couples, children with their parents and friends dancing to the tunes played of their car stereos. It was a no-vehicle zone on Saturday evening at Connaught Place to control the crowd in the New Year hotspot. Police personnel were in huge numbers there, keeping a close watch on the revellers.

Policemen armed with alcometres were everywhere to check drunken driving as additional personnel were deployed across the city in the night to maintain law and order. Although, most shops in Connaught Place were chock-a-block with people, it was the city`s liquor shops and pubs that attracted the largest crowd.

"New Year`s eve is the time when the city sees a spurt in alcohol consumption so most pubs across the city have come up with offers to add to the festive season," said the manager of a popular pub in Connaught Place.

"We have been given strict instructions to keep an eye on motorists drinking under the influence of alcohol and personnel have been stationed at various locations to ensure the same," said an official on duty.

Delhi Police also said that for drunken driving, apart from fines up to Rs 2,000 and suspension of driving licences, defaulters may also be given a jail term. But all these measures have done little to kill the festive spirit among the people.

"The security might be a hindrance to some revellers, but it will also keep them on their toes to behave responsibly, after all celebrations are all about having fun without being a nuisance to anyone," said Sanghamitra Banerjee, a market analyst, over the din of the thumping music in the background.