Dhaka: The nation is all set to welcome Bangla year 1418, with festivities and gaiety, with the rising of the sun on Thursday, leaving behind all sorrow and despair.
Thousands of men, women and children, in traditional colourful clothes, will throng Ramna Batamul and other prominent venues for new year celebrations in the capital and elsewhere in the country, to make the first day of the Bangla year a memorable one. Three-tier security systems have been put in place at the popular and traditional centres of celebration around Ramna Park, Suhrawardy Udyan and Dhaka University (DU) campus. Around 11,000 members of police, RAB and Detective Branch of police will keep vigil round-the-clock, at venues across Dhaka, to ward off any untoward incident.
“A total of 33,000 police, RAB and intelligence personnel would be deployed across the country, including 175 strategic points in Dhaka, on Thursday,” state minister for home, Shamsul Haque Tuku, told reporters. The minister said that special intelligence surveillance was already in place at strategic areas in the capital, ahead of Pahela Baishakh.
Tuku said no hawker would be allowed into Ramna Park on Pahela Baishakh and all visitors heading to Ramna Batamul can enter the park through designated gates, after necessary security checks by members of the law-enforcement agencies. People have also been asked to refrain from smoking in the venue and not to carry match boxes or lighters. About 30 closed-circuit TVs have been installed in various places, while 47 check-posts and eight archways have been set up to boost security. After visiting Ramna Park yesterday, the minister and state minister for home affairs, and the chiefs of law enforcement agencies expressed their satisfaction over the security measures in place.
RAB officials said that 5,500 members of the force have been deployed across the country. Of them, 2,500 are deployed in Dhaka. Thousands of people are expected to gather at Ramna Udyan, where, artistes from cultural organisation Chhayanaut will sing “Esho Hey Baishakh Esho Esho”, a traditional favourite from Rabindranath Tagore, to welcome the new year.
Members of the Institute of Fine Arts will bring out the coulourful Mangal Shobhajatra procession, from the institute’s gate in the morning. Besides, cultural functions are to be held at Ramna Udyan, Institute of Fine Arts of Dhaka University and elsewhere in the capital.
People from all walks of life are expected to throng Baishakhi Mela – a major feature of Bangla New Year celebration. The 10-day traditional and colourful fair, arranged jointly by Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation (BSCIC) and Bangla Academy, begins Thursday, on the Bangla Academy premises.
As the day is a public holiday, different social, political and cultural organisations have drawn up elaborate schedules to celebrate the day. Those who like to stay back at home and enjoy a leisurely pace of life, will likely have panta bhaat and fried hilsa, with lentils and green chillies, at home and Baishakh gatherings.
Bangladesh Betar and all television channels air special programmes, while newspapers publish special supplements.
Dhaka Metropolitan Police said the roads stretching from Sheraton crossing to Hare Road-Kakrail crossing, from Shahbagh to Matsya Bhaban, from Nilkhet crossing to Teachers-Students Centre (TSC) of Dhaka University, from Plassey intersection to Doyel Chattar via Shaheed Minar, and Bakshi Bazar to TSC crossing via Jagannath Hall, will be off-limits for vehicles. President Zillur Rahman and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, in separate messages, greeted countrymen and expatriate Bangladeshi citizens, on the occasion of Pahela Baishakh. They expressed hopes that the Bengali New Year would bring joy to all and unite everyone to build a prosperous nation.
The President and the Prime Minister, in their messages, said Pahela Baishakh is a unique day for nurturing Bangladesh’s everlasting tradition and Bengali lifestyle, to move forward with new strength and feelings. The President will host a Pahela Baishakh reception at Bangabhaban, at 7.15pm on Thursday. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is expected to attend the function.