NEW DELHI: Blame the O-factor. In a hurry to get to the airport? Forget it. Looking for a taxi in the New Delhi area to rush to the railway station, if at all you are able to get there? No way. Planning to go to ISBT or taking an auto from there? Out of the question. Rushing to any of the two major government hospitals — Ram Manohar Lohia and Lok Nayak — in an ambulance taking a heart patient for urgent treatment? Tough. Want to watch a movie in Connaught Place and a quiet dinner at any of its restaurants? Impossible. Want to brave the cold to watch your favourite political leader campaigning in the New Delhi area? Too bad. Want to hold a big rally any day between 25th and 27th? Hold it. The national capital on Sunday will wake up in a lockdown mode. US President Barack Obama’s visit may open the doors of international trade and cooperation to India, but will close down its capital city, Delhi. On Saturday itself, Delhi turned into a high-security fortress with armed personnel standing by in the highest state of readiness as chatter from across the border indicated that jihadis are plotting to carry out spectacular terror strikes during the presidential visit.
The Dhaula Kuan road will be chaotic for almost two days. Although Obama will stay at ITC Maurya, a five-star hotel, Sardar Patel Marg, connecting Gurgaon and beyond, will be virtually shut down. Both carriageways at Sardar Patel Marg leading to the Indira Gandhi International Airport will be out of bounds for passengers. Even on January 27, people from South Delhi will face a harrowing time as Obama’s visit to Siri Fort Auditorium will turn surrounding areas into a no-go zone. All entry and exit points at South Extension, Malviya Nagar, Green Park, Khelgaon and Hauz Khas will be sanitised and barricaded to ensure the safety of Obama.