With President Pratibha Patil scheduled to reach Alappuzha for the inauguration of the 58th Nehru Trophy Boat Race at 1.45 p.m. on Saturday, police and security personnel have gone into a frenzy, restricting even the movement of bicycles and banning roadside parking.

According to Deputy Superintendent of Police B. Ravindra Prasad, traffic restrictions would be in place in Alappuzha town and surrounding areas from 12 noon on Saturday, while no vehicles would be allowed to park on any roadside anywhere in the town from 6 a.m.

Any vehicle parked thus would be towed away.

Vehicles, particularly buses coming with people into the town from the Kottayam-Thanneermukkom side will have to ask their passengers to alight near the District Court bus-stop and then, if they wanted to wait for their passengers, park after the YMCA Junction while those coming from the NH-47 side could park on the Kidangamparambu road after unloading passengers near the YMCA.

Vehicles coming from Changanassery and Kollam would have to unload passengers at the YMCA junction before 11 a.m. and park either in the SDV Grounds or on either sides of the Cherthala canal.

No vehicle traffic, including bicycles would be allowed along the route selected for the President to travel.

People living on either sides of the VVIP route and shopkeepers here have been asked to ensure that there were no strangers on their premises.

Boat services from the DTPC jetty towards or from the Punnamada Lake will not be allowed to operate after 12 noon.

All spectators for the boat race have to reach the venue before 12 noon. The police have also restricted movement of small boats or advertisement boats near the race tracks and the nearby canals.

Swimming near the tracks or the Punnamada Lake near the race tracks has also been prohibited.

The restrictions, meanwhile, resulted in the usual flow of tourists and the public towards the Finishing Point at Punnamada to witness last-minute preparations, being stopped.

The spectators' galleries at the Finishing Point lay vacant, an unusual spectacle on the eve of the race. The only movement was that of a few tourists on houseboats and smaller boats moving along the lake far from the race tracks, apart from the several trial runs conducted by the police along the VVIP route.

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