Tight security for Manmohan, Maradona

A school student keeps watch a day prior to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Santiniketan. The students will be paid Rs. 120 for 10 hours of duty.   | Photo Credit: — Photo: PTI

Special Correspondent

KOLKATA: A tight security cordon has been thrown around the city and the places where Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and football legend Diego Maradona are likely to visit during their two-day stay in West Bengal.

Efforts had been made to make the security foolproof in view of the Babri Masjid demolition anniversary on Saturday and the Mumbai terror attacks.

Home Secretary A.M. Chakraborty, Inspector-General (Law and Order) Raj Kanojia and Finance Minister Asim Dasgupta reviewed the security arrangements, which were being monitored every hour, government officials said.

At Santiniketan, where Dr. Singh went for the convocation of the Visva Bharati University, personnel of the Special Protection Group, special security officials from West Bengal and the State armed police made tight arrangements. Sniffer dogs and bomb squads were pressed into service to sanitise the area. A move to harness youth to keep a vigil was aborted after objections from senior police officials.

Power lines cut?

Dr. Singh, who stayed at the Raj Bhavan on Saturday night, will go to the north Bengal town of Malda, where he will visit the house of the late Congress leader, A.B.A. Ghani Khan Chowdhury. There are reports that some of the nearby villages there will have to go without electricity as power lines and cables have been snapped around the helipad for security reasons. Elaborate police bandobust was in place for Maradona.