Published On : Sat, Sep 7th, 2019

Who ‘Red-flagged’ PM’s visit to Nagpur – Met Deptt or SPG?

Nagpur: The abrupt cancellation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s September 7 visit to Nagpur has raised many eyebrows. Modi was scheduled to visit city on Saturday for launch of several projects including inauguration of Maha Metro exhibition at Subhash Nagar station of Nagpur Metro Rail project, flagging off Lokmanya Nagar-Sitabuldi ‘Aqua Line’, taking a ride up to Sitabuldi Interchange station etc. However, the high-profile visit was cancelled abruptly citing ‘heavy rainfall’ alert issued by Regional Meteorological Centre (RMC) as reason.

Now, questions are being asked as to who ‘red-flagged’ the Prime Minister’s visit? Was it Weather Department or Modi’s Special Protection Group (SPG) providing security to him?

If reports published in a local daily are to be believed, eight specials vehicles of Prime Minister’s convoy had reached Nagpur from Delhi. Bomb Detection and Disposal Squads (BDDS) from Delhi, Mumbai and other cities had also arrived in city. Five bulletproof cars were also requisitioned and stationed in city. While security machinery was making all necessary arrangements for the high-profile visit, heavy rain was not sparing the city. The security agencies were on the edge following incessant rain inundating the city. Faced with the tricky situation, the officials of Special Protection Group reviewed the threat perception and apprised the PMO about hurdles in Modi’s visit. Acting on SPG word, the Prime Minister’s Office subsequently ‘red-flagged’ Modi’s Nagpur visit on Friday evening itself, media reports said.

Media reports further said that according to planned visit, the Prime Minister was scheduled to arrive at Nagpur Airport at 4.20 pm on Saturday. Modi was to proceed to Subhash Nagar by car for inauguration of Nagpur Metro’s Lokmanya Nagar-Sitabuldi Aqua Line. Thereafter, he was scheduled to go to Mankapur Sports Complex for launching various projects. The Prime Minister was to travel on road for about 80 minutes, according to security agencies. Hence a tight security was in place at programme venues as well as on various roads, media reports stated.

Further, for the security of the Prime Minister, teams of SPG and a special squad of Mumbai police had reached Nagpur on Thursday itself. For outer ring of security, 2400 police personnel including 11 DCPs were deployed. Despite the heavy rains lashing the city, dress rehearsals for checking security readiness were being conducted by SPG officials along with Commissioner of Police Dr Bhushankumar Upadhyay. Bomb Detection and Disposal Squads had taken their positions and scanning every corner of programme venues. But the incessant rain on Friday was wreaking havoc in the Second Capital.

Gushing water had even flooded the newly constructed Subhash Nagar Metro Station.Moreover, water was seeping from the newly built metro bridges. Alarmed by the situation, the SPG officials alerted the PMO and apprised it with threat perception. Subsequent to SPG alarm, the PMO, around 6.15 pm on Friday, decided to cancel Modi’s Nagpur visit scheduled on Saturday. Following news of cancellation of Modi’s visit, the ‘under pressure’ security agencies heaved a sigh of relief, media reports said.

Moreover, the regional met office had also issued ‘heavy rain alert’ for Saturday.

Following the cancellation of the Prime Minister’s Nagpur visit, now, the questions are being asked as to who ‘red-flagged’ the visit: Was it alert SPG or Weather Department?