How Mumbai's gearing up for Obama visit

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Mumbai:  Usually at this time of the year the only thing Mumbai would be getting ready for would be Diwali.

But with President Barack Obama arriving in just a few days Mumbai is being given a quick coat of polish.

A man can be seen painting the lamp post opposite the Taj. At another place a man can be seen planting saplings on the Marine Drive's divider.

These are a few measures being taken to get Mumbai Obama-ready.

The 20 kilometre stretch from the airport to the Taj Hotel, where the Obamas will be staying, is being spruced under the personal supervision of ward officers and road engineers.

After years, South Mumbai's old drab road dividers are getting a makeover.

The municipal corporation is spending Rs 25 lakh to ensure the Maximum City looks its sparkling best when President Obama comes calling.

Even Lord Ganesha could not escape the pot holes of Mumbai during the 10-day festival, but now that President Obama is coming the city's administrators are rolling out the red carpet to make sure it's smooth sailing for the American President.

Authorities though are choosing to downplay this extra attention making it sound like its business as usual.

"All the work we are doing on roads and other things is routine. Nothing special is being done for Obama's visit," claims Rahul Shevale, Chairman, Standing Committee.

But there is a downside as well. The gateway ferry rides, such a huge tourist attraction during this festive season, will be out of action for three days for security reasons.

With heavy security arrangements planned for the weekend, shoppers may not be able to move around too freely.

Mumbai is well on course to welcome its most high profile guest this Diwali.



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