The Colaba police have begun to minutely check each lodge and guest house in and around the area, to the visit of the United States President Barack Obama on November 6 and 7.
As part of its elaborate security measures, the police have planned to check and screen every single foreign national staying in the 100-odd lodges and guest houses in the vicinity of the Taj Mahal Palace where the President will be staying.
“So far, we had been following a procedure of randomly checking lodges, but now we have intensified the checking after the news of Obama’s visit,” said a high-ranking officer, on condition of anonymity, as he is not authorised to speak to the media.
“We are going to instruct each lodge and guest house manager and owner to rent rooms only to those foreign nationals with proper identification documents,” the official added.
According to the police, they would check guests, especially those who pay by cash instead of credit card or cheque.
“We do not want to cause any inconvenience to guests or invade their privacy. But, as a security measure, we would have to check the credentials of all foreign nationals near Taj Mahal Hotel,” the officer said.
Places like the Taj, Café Leopold and Colaba Causeway are among the few places that are frequented by foreigners. These places would be checked out by the police every day.
The Taj, Café Leopold and Nariman House are places that were targeted by terrorists during the November 26, 2008, attacks where 26 foreign nationals were killed.
The police have also made plans to install CCTV cameras on all the roads leading to the Taj Mahal Palace. There are more than 25 lodges, guest houses and hotels around the Taj.
“We are planning to ask the owners of these places to keep photocopies of documents provided by a guest as a security measure owing to the fact that many guests change their place of residence regularly,” the officer said.
“We have already started making elaborate security arrangements for Obama’s visit,” said Cherring Dorje, deputy commissioner of police, (zone I).
On November 6 and 7, the Gateway of India will be off-limits to tourists and Mumbaiites.