Tight security for CM's Tirumala visit

TIRUMALA OCT. 13. Unprecedented security arrangements are being made at the twin temple towns of Tirumala and Tirupati and on the two ghat roads, in connection with the Chief Minister, N. Chandrababu Naidu's visit, scheduled for October 16.

According to information reaching here, the Chief Minister along with his wife Bhuvaneswari and two other family members will stay overnight in Tirumala and is likely to participate, for the first time in the " Abhishekam'' of Lord Venkateswara, in the wee hours of Friday. The visit is being termed a thanksgiving visit by Mr. Naidu, who survived an attempt on his life on October 1, before attending to his official duties in Hyderabad.

The sudden and unexpected visit of the Chief Minister has put district officials, police and the TTD top brass run on their toes.

Two special parties consisting of more than 50 police personnel attached to the Anti-Sabotage Team and bomb disposal squads have already been pressed into service for the "sterilisation'' of the entire route on both ghat roads.

The special parties are under tremendous pressure as the entire stretch of both the ghat roads are not only laid in the Tirumala jungle, but also have of about 79 culverts, 58 hair pin bends, and 52 curves - which are all highly vulnerable.

Besides this, several teams have been formed to conduct fool-proof combing operations in the Tirumala forests, including the 7-km stretch of the footpath.

Checking at both the Alipiri tollgate, Tirupati, and the G.N.C. tollgate has been intensified.

Policing also has been stepped in Tirumala. The entire route from the posh Padmavathi guest house to the temple complex has been kept under high surveillance. Picketing has been intensified in the vicinity of the main temple complex and the adjoining mada streets. The entire Padmavathi guest house complex, where the Chief Minister will stay on October 16, will be handed over to security personnel in advance.

Officials in a tizzy

By Our Special Correspondeent

TIRUPATI. Oct. 13. With hardly two days to go for the Chief Minister, N. Chandrababu Naidu's visit to Tirupati-Tirumala, the temple town has once again become a beehive of activity. The visit, besides giving sleepless nights to security agencies, is having them in jitters. The security agencies, which are already busy with the probe ordered into the attack, seem to be having quite a task with the CM's plans for a return to the blast venue -- Tirupati on October 16.

The visit is also said to be adding to the confusion and vacuum already prevailing at the top and middle rung of the Police Department here because of the suspension or transfer of a number of senior police officials in the aftermath of the mine attack, for their alleged complacency.

Though it is now nearly 10 days since the Collector, G. Saiprasad, was shifted, the Government is yet to name his successor while the new SP, Ramachandra Raju, is yet to take charge. He has reportedly chosen October 19 to assume office. But in the wake of the Chief Minister's unexpected visit, he is said to be rushing to Tirupati tomorrow.

Sources said that the IG (Intelligence), K. Durgaprasad, would be reaching Tirupati tomorrow for the first time after taking charge and so also the head of the one-man Commission, Prakash Singh, DGP (Retd), Uttar Pradesh.

The SIT Officer, D.T.Naik, a senior IPS officer, is already camping here.

Meanwhile, sources are neither confirming nor denying reports that the Chief Minister was planning to travel in an open-top jeep from the airport to Alipiri, the foothill. Besides the Endowments Minister, D. Sivarama Raju, the District Minister, B. Gopalakrishna Reddy who also survived the blast, is expected to arrive with Mr. Naidu..

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