Monday, November 8, 2010

An Encounter with Mr.President "Obama"

Mumbai was overwhelmed to receive Obama, their happiness knew no bounds to see their dream man right in their city. Whole day was busy and rush camera,lights,interview,newsheadlines everything cover only Obama. US President Barack Obama today got a firsthand account of how information technology (IT) has revolutionised life in rural India, and said this technology would help India directly leapfrog into the 21st century. "India may be in a position to leapfrog, avoiding 20th century straightaway into the 21st century. After a short introduction by National Knowledge Commission chairman Sam Pitroda, Obama spoke to the villagers who shared the benefits of broadband penetration - from online medical consultation, education and local e-governance.The President expressed happiness about the progress being made with the aid of IT. The villagers interaction was coordinated by Union Minister of State for Communications and IT Sachin Pilot, who said IT was not just about exporting services, but was also about changing lifestyle of rural India.India expects to achieve broadband penetration in all panchayats by 2012. Broadband spectrum was auctioned earlier this year and the network roll-out is currently underway.The pot-holed streets of Mumbai are being spruced up, shabby buildings are being given a paint job, school children are diligently rehearsing their dance moves and the security establishment is putting every man on the job: the city of Gold is getting ready to host the president of the United States.

In the early hours of November 6, when President Barack Obama lands in Mumbai, he may not get a huge welcome at the airport or on the way to his hotel. For one thing, it is the Diwali weekend, the biggest holiday in India. It is a bit like a foreign dignitary arriving in New York on Christmas; the locals are busy with their celebrations and will mind their already traffic-clogged roads being blockaded by the American president's motorcade. One newspaper suggests Obama skirt the notorious Mumbai traffic by flying straight to his South Mumbai hotel by helicopter.The other thing that could keep the ordinary citizen away from him is the security. All kinds of speculation has been doing the rounds, including claims that scores of U.S. secret service agents have been in Mumbai for weeks looking closely at each and every nook and corner of the potential spots Obama could visit. Mumbai police are reported to have deployed sharp shooters at different points in the city.
A trip to the Chattrapati Shivaji Terminus, the scene of horrific killings by terrorists on the night of November 26, 2008, was apparently scheduled but was called off when the local police could not guarantee a sanitized security environment at the main train station. Michelle Obama's plans to see for herself the notorious red light area of Kamathipura was also nixed by the Maharashtra government.There is no official confirmation on the Obamas one-day schedule in Mumbai, but some details have trickled out.The president and first lady are staying at the domed Taj Mahal Palace heritage hotel, where two years ago guests and staff were held hostage for four days while commandos fought the armed terrorists inside during the attack. The Taj, as it is called, and the area around it have been turned into an armed fortress and the U.S. president's entourage has reportedly booked the entire 600-room hotel.Again, these are not details given out officially, though even a casual visit to the vicinity of the hotel, next to Mumbai's famed Gateway of India monument, will show the extent of the security blanket in the neighborhood.

President Obama will also address a group of Indian businessmen, visit St Xaiver̢۪s college, one of the most prestigious institutions in the city, go to Mani Bhavan, the Mumbai home of Mahatma Gandhi and visit the Holy Name school in Colaba to celebrate Diwali, where the excited kids are practicing their steps but are in the dark about when exactly in the day the president will arrive.All of which has led to some mixed feelings among citizens.hough President Obama is much admired in Mumbai and the sites he will visit are all agog in anticipation, the security and the timing of the trip have left many people underwhelmed. The fact that he is travelling with a 200-plus contingent of U.S. businessmen emphasizes the economic angle to his trip, which strikes a chord in this, the commercial capital of India.But the President, coming to India immediately after fighting the high-pressure mid-term elections in his country, should not feel too aggrieved if citizens do not turn out in large numbers to greet him.

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