BMC scrambles to get ready for Obama | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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BMC scrambles to get ready for Obama

A fortnight before US President Barack Obama’s visit to the city, civic officials are not even aware of which spots he would visit or the routes his entourage would take.

mumbai Updated: Oct 23, 2010 00:51 IST
HT Correspondent

A fortnight before US President Barack Obama’s visit to the city, civic officials are not even aware of which spots he would visit or the routes his entourage would take.

As they await an official tour programme from the state government, the officials are poring over the file on standard operating procedures for any VVIP visit and are planning accordingly.

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has alerted its entire machinery to ensure a hitch-free visit.

BMC sources said, on condition of anonymity as they are not authorised to speak to the media, that the fire brigade would survey the Taj hotel, where Obama will stay, for safety preparedness in case of fire or other emergencies.

If any upgrade of the fire apparatus is required, the hotel’s management will be informed.

“We haven’t got any instructions on when to conduct the survey, but we will follow the procedure for any VVIP visit,” said a fire brigade official.

Obama will be the first VVIP foreign dignitary to live at the Taj after the November 26, 2008, terror attacks.

BMC officials are also instructing all major hospitals along the tentative routes the President’s entourage will take to be prepared for any emergency. Obama’s convoy will be tailed by a fire engine with a few fire brigade officials.

Acting municipal commissioner AK Singh said: “We have received no communication about the visit.”

An official said it was not the first time that the state government was informing the BMC at the last moment. “Just in case the government gives us too little time, we are taking the necessary steps on our own,” said the official.

Meanwhile the BMC has undertaken resurfacing and minor road repairs along the routes Obama is expected to take. After the monsoon, many roads were in bad shape.

“A few stretches, such as Haji Ali and Nariman, will be resurfaced,” said a civic official. He added that rough patches and potholes will be filled and debris cleared. Sidewalks and medians will be repainted,” he added.