Civic body in a fix over Kamathipura clean-up | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Civic body in a fix over Kamathipura clean-up

Even with no confirmation yet on whether Michelle Obama, the US first lady, will be visiting Kamathipura, the civic body is in a tizzy over the massive cleaning drive it will have to undertake in an area neglected for decades.

mumbai Updated: Oct 28, 2010 01:26 IST
HT Correspondent

Even with no confirmation yet on whether Michelle Obama, the US first lady, will be visiting Kamathipura, the civic body is in a tizzy over the massive cleaning drive it will have to undertake in an area neglected for decades.

Civic officials, faced with the massive task of cleaning Asia’s largest and oldest red light area ahead of the US president’s visit, don’t know what they should do give the area a lift.

“Areas like Marine Drive and Gateway of India are VVIP areas and are attended to all year, unlike Kamathipura,” a senior civic official said.

Michelle Obama has been invited to the area by an NGO. However, whether she will oblige with a visit is not clear yet.

The Kamathipura area is extremely congested, with narrow lanes, overflowing garbage bins at every crossroad and a battery of hawkers lining every street.

“We haven’t begun a cleaning drive in the area as we don’t know whether Michelle Obama will be visiting the area. We have not received any instructions from our seniors,” a civic official said.

On Tuesday, it was reported that the Mumbai police advised the US government to cancel Michelle Obama’s visit to Kamathipura.

During a meeting to review security, the police and home department told the US Consul-General Paul Folmsbee that if Michelle Obama wanted to visit the red light area, then police would not be able to provide security.

Finally, US officials said they had dropped the Kamathipura visit plan.

A police officer said, “Kamathipura is well-known for all its unsavoury activities. Even if the best security is in place in the area, we cannot guarantee that there will be no untoward incident during the visit.”