Extra security measures for January NRI meet: MOIA secretary

December 3rd, 2008 - 11:58 am ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Dec 3 (IANS) The Mumbai terror attacks will not affect the January Pravasi Bharatiya Divas meeting in Chennai, but extra security measures will be taken for the NRI meet, says the top official of the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA).The global financial meltdown could have a bigger adverse impact on the Jan 7-9 event than the Mumbai terror attacks as people are cutting down on their expenses, K. Mohandas, the secretary of the ministry, told IANS in an interview.

He, however, admitted that due to the travel advisory issued in some Western countries following the Mumbai attack, the response from there could be affected.

Also, he said, people in the US and Britain were spending less after the current meltdown.

Mohandas said additional security measures and extra precautions would be implemented for the safety and security of all NRI delegates.

“There will be visible and invisible security measures in Chennai. We are working out the details and in fact, a meeting was held (Tuesday) to discuss these. The details are being formulated,” he said.

When the president and the prime minister attend any event, there is a very high level of security. But this is not enough by itself and so other plans are under active consideration to provide much more broadbased security in the city, hotels and venues. Mohandas said it would be the special focus of organisers during the event.

However, he said, nobody is panicky as Chennai is one of the safest places in India.

A major ATP tennis event is to be held Jan 5 in Chennai with top international players, the official said.

To counter the effect of the global meltdown when NRIs are spending less, special rates have been negotiated with the hotels for accommodation. Airlines have also been approached for special, low fares for NRI delegates. But it is believed they have not responded positively so far.

Mohandas expects a large response from NRIs in Singapore where a regional Pravasi Bharatiya Divas was held in October and also from Malaysia.

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