CHENNAI: Mamallapuram is all set to host the informal summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping. The two-day event will be held on Friday and Saturday. The entire coastal town has been decked up to receive the dignitaries and heavy security has been deployed.
Roads leading to the town have been renovated, new sign boards erected, and overgrown tree branches trimmed. All the public properties including lamp poles, government buildings, water tanks and walls have been given a fresh lick of paint. Decorated flower arches at entrances to Kovalam and Mamallapuram, a Buddha statue at the Shore Temple, wooden walkways, and natural grass lawns are some of the additional attractions.
Local residents have been asked to carry their identity cards while stepping out of their homes on Friday and Saturday. “I cannot believe my eyes. This town has never looked so clean, not even in my childhood,” says a 35-year-old woman. “But despite the cosmetic changes, the fact is that all of us here are struggling for potable drinking water,” she said. The empty overhead water tank installed at the entrance of Mamallapuram has also been painted.
Schools, offices closed
Some schools and colleges along the route — city airport to Mamallapuram — have declared holiday or half day on Friday, owing to traffic diversions. A matriculation school at Kotturpuram has informed parents to pick up their wards after the first half of the day, while a private school near Guduvanchery has declared Friday as holiday. Offices located on the OMR have issued special advisories to their employees in view of the summit. Many companies, especially the ones located in Sholinganallur, Tidel Park and Ramanujan IT Park, have given their employees an option of working from home.
Lower courts adjourned
Based on a request from the city police, lower courts in Chennai have adjourned cases till Saturday, as policemen aren’t available to escort remand prisoners to court. However, where extension of remand is necessary, prison superintendent has been told to conduct the proceedings through video-conferencing.
A Chinese national and two students from Ladakh and Arunachal were picked up by the city police on Thursday. They were released later after obtaining written statements. A 27-year-old man from China, who got down from a private bus near Rohini theatre was secured by police personnel on patrol. He was taken to the CMBT police station.“Inquiries revealed that he reached Bengaluru from Guangdong in China and came to Chennai for his professional work,” said a police officer.
No facilities for cops
Personnel deployed on security duty had to make do with limited amenities available. Cops have been given accommodation at community and marriage halls, and at private colleges. But they do not have access to proper toilet facilities, causing hardship.
What will Xi eat?
The Chinese premier is bringing with him a team of personal chefs, according to sources at the ITC Grand Chola, where he will be staying. The details, for security reasons, are fairly hush-hush. All ingredients for the President’s meals during his stay will be brought by the team from China.
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It’s, hence, unlikely that he will be indulging in South Indian delicacies such as dosa or filter coffee. "A separate portion of the kitchen has been cordoned off for them to prepare meals," a source told Express. A standard meal of the President looks like this: Pork and onion buns, stewed pork liver and a generous serving of greens. This was the president’s exact order at a local restaurant, much to the delight of staff and fellow diners, when he stepped out unannounced for a meal last year