Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese Premier Xi Jinping’s summit at Mahabalipuram on October 11, the Tamil Nadu police have stepped up security in and around Chennai and the temple town of Mahabalipuram for the next few days.
Several platoons of state police personnel have been deployed to patrol the road between Mahabalipuram and Akkarai which leads to the site of the summit. Over 500 police personnel have been pressed into service to keep a strict vigil on the temple town and prevent any untoward incidents.
Hundreds of CCTV cameras have been installed around Mahabalipuram for surveillance, while surfers and swimmers have been barred from venturing out into the sea. Residents of Mahabalipuram have been issued special identity cards during the summit and have been instructed to not entertain guests at home. Tourists have also been barred from visiting the town.
The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) announced on Tuesday that public entry to tourism sites at Mahabalipuram such as the iconic Shore Temple, Pancha Ratha temples, Krishna Butterball, Lighthouse etc has been barred until the end of the VVIPs’ visit for security purposes.
The police have also placed restrictions on the movement of vehicles along the East Coast Road (ECR). Vehicles plying along ECR towards Puducherry, including private and express buses will have to take a detour to avoid a portion of ECR near Mahabalipuram. Further, share autos and autorickshaws have been advised to drop passengers off at Pooncheri bus stand until the end of the summit. The bus stop is located about 3 km away from Mahabalipuram.
The Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation (TNSTC) announced that Pooncheri bus stand will serve as a temporary stop for passengers travelling to and from Mahabalipuram, Thirukazhakundram and Thiruporur until the end of the high-profile summit.
Meanwhile, Chennai City Police issued a circular announcing that no restrictions on vehicular movement within Chennai have been put in place yet.
Besides security, conservancy workers have been hard at work, sprucing up the roads and flora along the scenic ECR along which Xi Jinping’s convoy is expected to travel to reach the summit.