September 23, 2019 8:13:32 pm
Ahead of the second informal summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping between October 11- October 13, security has beefed in the surrounding areas of Mamallapuram, a town classified as a UNESCO world heritage site, located about 60 kilometers from the heart of Chennai.
As part of the preparations, a 30-member Chinese delegation accompanied by the Special Protection Group (SPG) had visited Mamallapuram town on Friday. The two world leaders are likely to visit several monuments in the coastal town including Pancha Rathas, Shore Temple, Krishna’s Butter Ball, Arjuna Cave, etc.
In the past couple of week, top brass from the police department, central and state intelligence agencies, and other government officials have been inspecting the town and holding regular meetings to evaluate the security measures ahead of the high-profile informal summit.
Leaving nothing to chance, the authorities have intensified security checks at Kovalam and other connecting routes to Mamallapuram, and also inspected the hotels where the two leaders are likely to stay during the summit. According to sources, the local police had been conducting door-to-door checks in the villages around Mamallapuram and other surrounding areas. The police have obtained Aadhar and other Identification details of the local residents. The villagers have also been instructed not to host guests at their place during the three-day summit. The entire town is expected to be under CCTV cover, with multi-layered security checks put in place.
The Municipal Authorities have ordered street vendors to shut their operations from the second week of October till the end of the summit.
Speaking to Indianexpress.com, Mamallapuram Tourist Officer T.Sakthivel said: “There is no restriction on tourism till the beginning of the summit. The places which the dignitaries wish to visit alone will be restricted to tourists from the second week of October and we will get to know the details of those places only at the last moment due to security reasons. Both the state and the central government authorities have been inspecting the spot for the past of a couple of weeks. They have been giving us instructions on how to keep the area clean, repairing roads, setting up lights at the necessary junctures, etc. It’s an honor for us that they have chosen our place for the summit.”
According to news reports, during the door-to-door security drill, two foreigners were arrested by the local police for staying in the town without valid documents. A 36-year-old Nigerian was arrested from a fishing hamlet off Mamallapuram and a 42-year-old man, a native of Kilinochchi in Sri Lanka, was detained near Kelambakkam on the city outskirts. The foreign nationals had been staying in the town without visas and passports for more than six months.