Crowds may elude Obama in Mumbai

November 2nd, 2010 - 7:54 pm ICT by IANS  

Barack Obama Mumbai, Nov 2 (IANS) Crowds may elude US President Barack Obama who will be in Mumbai for over 24 hours Saturday and Sunday, officials said.

The world’s most powerful leader will touch down in the country’s commercial capital Saturday and leave for New Delhi Sunday afternoon, according to his programme announced here Tuesday.

After he lands at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, Obama’s engagements will mostly be confined within a two-km radius of the Taj Mahal Palace & Tower Hotel, Colaba, where he will spend a night, and at Nariman Point’s Hotel Trident Oberoi - both targeted in the Nov 26, 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.

He will also have engagements at the St. Xaviers’ College, barely two km away and deviate around five km to visit the historic Mani Bhavan — a museum dedicated to Gandhi memorabilia.

In what could be a blessing to the security agencies, both US and Indian, huge crowds are not expected in south Mumbai during the Presidential visit.

For one, it is a festival weekend with holidays in public and private sector. Secondly, schools and colleges have been closed for Diwali vacations since Saturday.

Another is the near-total ban on movement of all big and small vessels, fishing boats, luxury craft, or motor launches which cater to domestic and international tourists.

Owing to the peculiar linear development in Mumbai, crowds travel in the north-south direction in the morning, and vice-versa in the evenings on working days.

The holidays and the security will ensure that the Mumbai suburban trains, which carry over 7.5 million commuters daily, besides the public BEST buses and other modes of public transport, would see thin crowds during the Presidential stay here.

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