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Goa: Security beefed up as lakhs of tourists arrive
December 30, 2006 16:36 IST
Security has been strengthened in Goa in the wake of terror threats, as lakhs of tourists, including foreigners and some high-profile visitors, have arrived to party and usher in the new year.
Hotels and restaurants have been decorated with lights and special menus are being prepared to attract the customers.
Gun-wielding Central Industrial Security Force and Goa police personnel have been posted at major beaches. "We are frisking or scanning visitors. We are doing it for your own security," a senior police officer told PTI.
CISF personnel, summoned during recent International Film Festival of India, were retained in the state for maintaining the security alongwith 3,000 Goa policemen.
With the Tourism Department giving an official figure of four lakh domestic leisure-seekers, along with 20,000 foreign tourists holidaying in the state, the roads are almost choked with traffic.
While people will be partying throughout the night on December 31, midnight masses would be held at 140 churches and chapels in the state.
The prayers would begin at 11.30 pm and culminate into celebrations as traditional new year dances are organised by various clubs across the state after the mass.
Airport sources said several celebrities have already started arriving in the coastal state, the first one to be sighted being the Gandhi siblings -- Priyanka and Rahul-- along with Priyanka's husband Robert Vadhera.
"Anil and Mukesh Ambani would arrive by special flights on Saturday while business tycoon Vijya Mallya is also scheduled to arrive on Saturday or Sunday," airport sources said.
Mallya would organise a party at his residence, Kingfisher, at Candolim village in north Goa, which is considered one of the best among high-profile parties, attended by filmstars, politicians and celebrities, many of them ferried by private jets.
The media has been kept away from the party, citing security and privacy reasons.