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Govt bends it for Benny: Festival of blessings for organisers

Govt bends it for Benny: Festival of blessings for organisers

Publication: The New Indian Express
Date: January 20, 2005
URL: http://www.newindpress.com/NewsItems.asp?ID=IEK20050120003329&Page=K&Title=Southern+News+%2D+Karnataka&Topic=348&

The State Government seems to be bending over backwards to ensure that it's smooth sailing for controversial pastor Benny Hinn's 'Festival of Blessings' at Jakkur Airfield from Friday.

Pulling out all stops, it has got official clearances expedited. Several charges have also been dropped.

Putting the already understaffed police force under additional strain, men and resources of the city police and special police forces are being diverted for the three-day event. What's more as entry to the show is free, police are not charging the organisers for the bandobust provided.

Security arrangements for the mega meet, claim the organisers, cannot be faulted as they have roped in five former DGPs as advisors: A release issued by the organisers states that former DG and IGP T. Srinivasulu who has also served as Security Advisor to the State Government, is their general advisor. Added to this, the overall security arrangements are being looked after by former DG and IGP F.T.R. Colaso, while retired DGP A.J. Anandan is in charge of traffic and parking and will be assisted by former DCP traffic M.T. Naik.

In case problems crop up, those attending have been asked to contact senior officers. DCP, North, Syed Ulfath Hussain is the nodal officer in charge of the event and the traffic at the venue will be under DCP, Traffic, West, Basavaraj Malagatti.

IG Fire Services, M.N. Reddi and DIG Fire Services N. Sunil Kumar are also on the list of officers who can be contacted in case of emergencies. The mobile phone numbers of the City Police Commissioner and Additional Commissioners have been publicised by the organisers.

A fleet of BMTC buses have been hired by the organisers to ferry those wishing to attend the fest while the APMC Yard has been virtually converted into a temporary bus depot. Even traffic regulations across the city have been altered to ensure the smooth flow of vehicles to the festival -- all at the cost of other vehicles. The Bellary Road, which has been earmarked for the parking of VVIP vehicles, has become a restricted area, out of bounds to other commuters.

Even as other chief ministers are thinking of skipping the meet because of the mounting pressure from various quarters, it is learnt that Dharam Singh has blessed the 'Festival of Blessings'. The direction to ground the aircraft at the Jakkur airfield to facilitate the meet, came from no other place than the CMO.

Hinn seems poised to change history here, quite literally, thanks to the charitable steps taken by the External Affairs Ministry and the Home Department, who have cleared all hurdles for his visit by issuing him a special visa.

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