In view of the heightened threat perception around US president Barack Obama's visit, the Delhi Police, on Sunday, adopted unprecedented security measures to make his stay in the national Capital as 'uneventful' as possible.
Seven years after they put in place similar measures for Israel Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, a 'severe threat perception' drove the Delhi Police to block both carriageways on each road that the US President's cavalcade traversed, even as thousands of Delhi commuters waited to reach their destination.
"It was a peculiar sight. When Prime Minister Manmohan Singh went to the airport to receive the Obamas, only the carriageway that his motorcade was plying on was blocked," said a Delhi Traffic Police officer.
"However, when the PM returned, with the President's cavalcade following him minutes later, there was nothing on either side of the road but police officers. This is the first time that this has been done after Ariel Sharon's visit in 2003," he added.
Even as the US President made his way to the Maurya Hotel from the IGI Airport, commuters from Dwarka to Dhaula Kuan, Moti Bagh and adjacent Nanakpura were stranded for more than an hour.
Special Commissioner of Police (traffic) Ajay Chadha said, "These arrangements have been put in place keeping in mind the heightened threat perception around the President's visit to the city."
On Monday too, the American President's tour of Delhi is likely to throw traffic out of gear. "While there could be traffic congestion on some routes for a particular period of time, movement on other routes to be used by the President will be restricted," said Satyendra Garg, joint commissioner of police (traffic).
While traffic movement will be affected on the Sardar Patel Marg, when moving from Dhaula Kuan to 11 Murti, between 8 am to 11 pm due to VVIP movement, the Jaswant Singh roundabout, Ferozeshah Road crossing and Copernicus Marg will be out of bounds from 11 am to 2 pm
Chaat vendor’s jam windfall
The US President's visit to the Capital brought in a freak windfall for a roadside chaat vendor on Sunday afternoon. As the hour-long jam halted traffic on Ring Road around 4pm, Hari Chand's chaat stall near the Nanak Pura Gurudwara at Moti Bagh. found many takers from among the motorists stuck in the jam. "Sunday afternoons are usually lean but today is different,” said Chand. "Had I known this would be the case, I would have called in my helper," Chand said. "I think I must thank Obamaji," Chand quipped, no doubt relishing this delicious twist in the traffic jam tale. HTC, New Delhi
With traffic movement restricted due to US President Barack Obama’s visit to Delhi on Sunday, Delhiites thronged the Delhi Metro to escape traffic jams. The Metro made 453 extra trips to manage the huge rush, even as traffic jams were witnessed on key routes in south Delhi and near the airport.
Around 30 camel-mounted Border Security Force (BSF) personnel welcomed US President Barack Obama and his wife at Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's residence for dinner on Sunday, an official said. The contingent played bugles and trumpets in tune with tinkling bells on camels.