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No bursting crackers near Taj

The bustling Gateway of India promenade will be eerily quiet on Diwali, thanks to US President Barack Obama and his family who will be staying at the Taj hotel during their two-day visit to Mumbai.

mumbai Updated: Nov 03, 2010 01:21 IST
HT Correspondent

The bustling Gateway of India promenade will be eerily quiet on Diwali, thanks to US President Barack Obama and his family who will be staying at the Taj hotel during their two-day visit to Mumbai.

“The entire city, except the areas surrounding the Taj hotel, can celebrate Diwali without restrictions. But people near the hotel will not be allowed to burst firecrackers,” Rajnish Seth, joint commissioner of police, law and order, said on Tuesday.

“The move has been initiated to ensure maximum security to the US president.”

Obama will be in the city on November 6 and 7, but firecrackers in this area are banned from November 5 onwards.

It may also be a good idea to avoid driving into Colaba as there will be several traffic and parking restrictions.

During the two-day stay, access, parking and traffic restrictions will also be in place, near the Taj as well as venues where the US president is scheduled to visit, Seth said.

Access to areas in and around the hotel, including the Gateway of India, will be completely barred for two days until the evening of November 7 when Obama leaves. All commercial activities around the Gateway will be suspended.

For the convenience of residents living close to the Taj, the Colaba police have, however, issued car park passes. “As many as 500 passes have been issued to residents so far,” Seth said.

The rest of Colaba is expected to be open as usual and there will be no restrictions on the Causeway. “We are trying to minimise inconvenience,” Seth said.

Vivek Phansalkar, joint commissioner of police, traffic, said traffic restrictions would be put in place in an area whenever Obama visits that section.

He said roads to be used will not be open to traffic once Obama and his entourage are about to commence movement, and parking will be barred on these roads during that time.