Ahead of US President Barack Obama’s visit as guest of honour for the Republic Day, security agencies are on an overdrive. Three hundred Delhi Police personnel will hold fort at the Maurya Sheraton 72 hours before his expected arrival on January 24.
Senior Delhi Police officers said the entire Maurya hotel will be booked for the President and his staff, and will be guarded by the US security. However, 72 hours before his arrival, the Delhi Police will also pitch in and take over security of the hotel and its premises. Sources said the hotel will be closed for bookings from January 21 and all current occupants have been asked to vacate the premises by then. Sources said some rooms at the Taj Palace hotel, adjacent to the Maurya, will also be booked for the President’s staff. “The threat perception is extremely high and Obama features on the hit list of the IS and the al-Qaeda. Security this time is double the arrangements that have been in place so far for US Presidents,” a senior officer said.
Usually, only 30- 35 companies are sanctioned to police every year on Republic Day. This time, the count has been doubled. The armed commandos and snipers on high rises have also been doubled, sources said.
Sources also revealed that Rs 1.5 crore has been sanctioned just for renting high- tech CCTV cameras. According to sources, 80 face recognition cameras will be installed near India Gate.
An advanced security liaison meeting will be held between the Central Intelligence Agency, the Intelligence Bureau and the Delhi Police next week to review security arrangements.
Also, both carriageways on Obama’s route will be blocked to the public unlike the standard procedure where only one is blocked.
This would mean that from the IGI Airport till Hyderabad House and from Maurya to Rashtrapati Bhavan and till Rajghat, the carriageways will be blocked. Police said this arrangement will have affect traffic movement to a large extent.