CHENNAI: Mahabalipuram may soon become a no-go zone for tourists and outsiders, as a thick security blanket is expected to be in place from October first week. This is part of the preparations for the informal summit between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping, scheduled to be held from October 11 to 13.
Recently, police officials inspected the temple town and got the Aadhaar details of all the villagers. The villagers were told that they would be given an ID card to identify themselves as local residents. They were advised by the police not to allow anybody from outside, even relatives, to stay at Mahabalipuram till the event gets over.
“If we have to come out of the house, we have to furnish the card,’’ said Thirunavukkarasu, a resident. “Currently, tourists are allowed into Tiger’s Cave and Shore temple. But in October, the world heritage spots may be closed for them too,’’ said a senior police official, who is part of the inspection team in Mahabalipuram.
The State intelligence unit too, has been on the vigil. They have made preparations for setting up CCTV cameras in various parts of the beach, near the Shore temple.Meanwhile, the police officials have also asked the street vendors, who are about 500 in number, to remove the shops by October first week. While this could be a huge financial loss for the small scale vendors, officials said this is part of the security measures.
The stone sculptures displayed by artisans on the roadside are one of the highlights of the temple town. However, as part of the beautification, the municipality has told the sculptors to move their work somewhere else. Sculptors said the officials found the asbestos ceilings of the sculpting shops unattractive and wanted them to be razed down.
‘’We know international leaders are coming here, but it is not right to treat residents of Mahabalipuram as third-class citizens,’’ said T Elumalai, a sculptor. However, officials said restrictions would only be enforced two days ahead of the event.
Xi may address gathering
Though the itinerary of Narendra Modi and Xi Jinping’s meeting in Mahabalipuram is not out yet, sources said the Chinese president may address a gathering at the shore temple. Currently, a part of the wall has been razed down in Shore temple and the surface is being levelled with sand