International delegates who arrived in the city for the biodiversity meet beginning Monday were in for an unpleasant surprise.
The high profile delegates found themselves being surrounded by tight security and being cautioned against venturing out on Sunday on account of the Telangana march.
“We do not wish to spread misinformation or rumours which might cause undue alarm. However, the possibility of going out is minimal due to the shutting down of all major businesses,” said a member of the organizing committee on condition of anonymity, indirectly hinting at an advisory.
The names of delegates chairing the sessions at the Conference of Parties (COP MOP 6) have been kept under wraps fearing threat to their security, added the official.
The measure was taken after some Telangana leaders threatened to gate-crash the high security venue at the Hyderabad International Convention Centre (HICC).
The United Nations Department of Safety and Security (UNDSS) arrived ahead of the dignitaries to ensure effective security measures.
The main convention centre or the UN Zone at HICC, where the plenary sessions and working party meeting are likely to be conducted, are off-limits to those without special pass of authorization, in addition to the identity cards issued by the organizers.
“The reason we have had to keep the media at bay and have requested scheduling of interviews and press meets is to ensure that there is no security lapse. There has also been no communication on the schedule of events from the organizing body, Convention for Biological Diversity (CBD), which is the sole organizer for the COP, to keep trouble-makers at bay,” explained the official.
Visitors to Hyderabad who came to attend the meet on Biosafety were also greeted by a sullen city and angry protests demanding the formation of a separate Telangana state. The chance of experiencing the ‘Nawabi culture’ and exploring the rich heritage of the city was out of bounds due to multiple traffic diversions and shuttered shop-fronts.
Delegates, who have booked their accommodation at the Taj Vivanta, Taj Krishna and other hotels in the heart of the city, were forced to stay indoors and watch the minimal traffic go by. Around 2,000 delegates from 150 countries have arrived to attend the first phase of the convention. The meet, to be held between October 1 and 5, will focus on the operations and activities of the Biosafety Clearing-House (BCH) and capacity-building measures.
The Meeting of Parties (MOP) will be followed by the Conference of Parties (COP-11) from October 8 to 19. Around 3,000 more participants are likely to arrive for the COP-11 then. Besides the UN security personnel, around 10,000 state police personnel would be deployed at the venue to ensure the smooth conduct of the event