50 touts arrested during Operation Obama in Agra

November 9th, 2008 - 7:49 pm ICT by IANS  

img src=”http://www.thaindian.com/newsportal/images/Barack Obama/obama.jpg” hspace=”5″ vspace=”5″ alt=”Barack Obama” title=”Barack Obama” align=”right” Agra Nov 9, IANS) US President-elect Barack Obama has inspired the police in this Uttar Pradesh city so much that they named after him an operation to nab touts. Operation Obama helped round up 50 unauthorised guides and agents, a police official said Sunday.The campaign was started after a series of complaints was received from tourists of harassment and cheating by guides, agents of the emporia and hotels as well as hawkers.

Prem Prakash, senior superintendent of police, said the operation will continue till the city’s major monuments like the Taj Mahal and the Red Fort were completely rid of such undesirable elements.

B.P. Ashok, superintendent of police city, told IANS: “This was the idea of SSP Prem Prakash. New names, particularly like Obama, right now draw attention. We thought even the foreign tourists would be impressed, just like Obama has taken the world by pleasant surprise.”

“The city of the Taj Mahal has got such a bad name because of the wrong doings of some people. The industry gets a bad image because of some elements who need to be firmly weeded out,” said hotelier Surendra Sharma.

The Fatehpur Sikri police rounded up a score of unauthorised guides who were found to be pestering tourists. Some beggars too were caught.

The problem is particularly serious at the Agra Cantonment railway station and at the Shilpgram parking slot.

On Saturday, the tourist police along with teams from the Rakabganj and Taj Ganj police stations encircled the marked areas near the Taj and the Fort.

Dozens of people were rounded up, including three tourists with valid entry tickets to the Taj Mahal. However, they were let off alongwith some others in the evening.

Last week too, during a similar operation at the Agra Cantonment railway station a dozen touts were arrested.

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