Tight security in Delhi for Obama visit

9:23 PM | , , ,

NEW DELHI: With the capital being turned into a fortress to ensure the highest level of security for US President Barack Obama, commuting through Delhi on Monday could prove to be a nightmare. The roads will be sanitised and cordoned off to make way for the convoy as Obama criss-crosses the city.

The VVIP guest is landing in the city on Sunday and will travel from the airport to ITC Maurya Sheraton hotel in Chanakyapuri. Apart from this route, via National Highway-8, Dhaula Kuan and Sardar Patel Marg, other roads in the city will remain largely unaffected on Sunday. According to sources, the highest levels of security will be provided to Obama, and both sides of the roads on which the President and his entourage travel will be blocked for traffic. The routes will be sanitised by police several minutes before the movement of his cavalcade and opened only after the cars have crossed over to a few intersections ahead.

But since Obama is arriving in Delhi on Sunday, movement of traffic will remain largely unaffected. On Monday, however, the only full day which he spends in Delhi, roads in central Delhi will virtually remain inaccessible through the day. Obama will start the day by visiting Rajghat to pay respect to the father of the nation. "Normal traffic has been advised to avoid Ring Road near Rajghat, Delhi Gate, ITO crossing, Tilak Marg-Mathura Road crossing, India Gate from 9am to noon. Since the timing of Obama's visit to Rajghat coincides with the morning rush hour, congestion is expected on the affected roads on which traffic will be diverted to allow VIP movement,'' said Satyendra Garg, joint commissioner of police (traffic).

From 11am to 2pm, movement of traffic on India Gate and all the radial roads leading to it will be affected. Traffic police will divert traffic on all roads leading to India Gate and the traffic pattern on India Gate will also be changed. "For about one hour, the main India Gate will be closed for traffic and vehicles will be allowed to cut across on only the inner circle,'' the officer added. This means that those entering India Gate at Rajpath will be diverted on the inner roads and will come out near Princess Park. These vehicles can take Tilak Marg and continue their journey. But all the other roads leading to India Gate will be blocked for traffic.

Movement of vehicles will be blocked at Jaswant Singh roundabout for those coming from Ashok Road to India Gate. Similarly, traffic headed to India Gate will not be allowed beyond Ferozeshah Road crossing on Kasturba Gandhi Marg and Mandi House roundabout on Copernicus Marg. These diversions are expected to lead to jams and delays on all the roads in New Delhi area. "There will be a lot of VIP movement on roads in New Delhi area on Monday and also in the vicinity of Rajpath and Parliament House,'' the officer added.

Even Sardar Patel Marg is expected to be congested. Even though the main road will remain open for traffic through the time that Obama stays in the city, heavy checking of vehicles entering ITC Maurya and movement of VIPs in and out of the hotel is expected to lead to congestion on the artery throughout Monday. "Motorists can use alternatives like Vinay Marg and Shanti Path and are advised to avoid the main SP Marg,'' said Garg.

Obama leaves the city on Tuesday morning, much before the morning peak hour begins, so commuters can expect movement of traffic to remain normal, even on the route connecting to the airport.

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