The security blanket around the airport is in view of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's brief stopover on Friday enroute to Tirumayam

The Tiruchi International Airport has been brought under heightened security cover in connection with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s brief stopover on Friday prior to leaving for Tirumayam to inaugurate the power plant piping unit of the Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited.

A thick security blanket has been thrown inside the airport and on its outer periphery with surveillance and anti-sabotage teams deployed as part of the detailed security arrangement.

A team from the elite Special Protection Guard (SPG) guarding the Prime Minister is camping here overseeing the security measures put in place in and around the airport.

Four Indian Air Force helicopters are stationed at the Tiruchi airport and the Prime Minister will fly to Tirumayam in one of them upon his arrival here from New Delhi.

Police sources told The Hindu that the Prime Minister will arrive at Tiruchi at around 11.05 a.m. from New Delhi by a special aircraft and leave for Tirumayam immediately in a helicopter.

Governor K. Rosaiah will accompany the Prime Minister from Tiruchi to Tirumayam and back.

In addition to mobilising City Police personnel, extra strength has been drawn from the Tamil Nadu Special Police and Armed Reserve to tighten security mechanism in and outside the airport.

Armed police personnel with walkie-talkie sets would be posted atop high-rise buildings in the airport’s vicinity, the sources said.

Barricades have been erected on a stretch along the Pudukottai highway where the airport was located.

Nearly 200 police personnel had been deployed exclusively for airport security that was being monitored directly by the Commissioner of Police Shailesh Kumar Yadav, said an officer.

With the MDMK and other outfits planning to show black flags to the Prime Minister during his arrival here, the sources said surveillance teams had been posted at different places in the city.

On the eve of Mr. Singh’s visit, a security-related convoy rehearsal was carried out from the airport to Kavery Speciality Hospital on Thursday morning.

Enumeration of persons residing in localities close to the airport was done as part of the security mechanism to ascertain if any new comers had come.

The sources said police personnel had been deployed at the Sri Lankan refugee camp at Kottapattu in the city.

Ahead of Mr. Singh’s visit, an advanced security liaison meeting was conducted in the city on Wednesday in which the SPG team, Collector Jayashree Muralidharan, Commissioner of Police Shailesh Kumar Yadav, and officials from various agencies took part.