Traffic police advise public to avoid main roads today as wellChinese President Xi Jinping, who arrived on Saturday, is scheduled to depart this afternoon.
Helicopters hovered above Kathmandu, security personnel, in thousands, stood guard and vehicles and pedestrians were kept off the road. Kathmandu thoroughfares saw a massive makeover with freshly placed flowers and repaired potholes. Streets received a fresh coat of asphalt. All for the arrival of Chinese President Xi Jinping.
In one of the much-awaited visits of a foreign dignitary, Xi landed at Tribhuvan International Airport at 4:46pm for a two-day state visit to Nepal.
Roads along the airport-New Baneshwor-Thapathali-Teku-Kalimati stretch were closed for the general public.
This is all part of our effort to better manage traffic during the high-profile visit, said traffic police officials.
“We have banned heavy vehicles within Ring Road until Sunday to ease traffic congestion and we have also requested the general public to use alternative routes during VVIP movement,” said Senior Superintendent of Police Bhim Prasad Dhakal of the Metropolitan Traffic Police Division. “People can call 103 for traffic updates.”
Traffic police mainly closed the route Xi and his entourage were taking. After President Bidya Devi Bhandari welcomed her Chinese counterpart at the airport, Xi headed straight to Soaltee Crowne Plaza. From there, Xi travelled to Sheetal Niwas for delegation-level talks with Bhandari.
In the evening, Bhandari hosted a dinner for Xi and the Chinese delegation.
Security had been beefed up since early Saturday afternoon, with increased police presence in Hattisar, where the Chinese consulate is located, and Ekantakuna and Boudha areas where there is a high concentration of Tibetan refugees.
In the core areas, police personnel checked vehicles and pedestrians.
“The police even checked my mom’s purse outside the Chinese embassy while she was driving towards Baneshwor after dropping me off,” said Anusha Pant, who works at a private hospital in Kathmandu. “Why would they do that?”
Police officials, however, said it was a regular procedure to ensure security.
The government has deployed more than 15,000 personnel across Kathmandu under the command of the Nepal Army for the security of Xi and the Chinese delegation, in one of the largest security deployments ever for a foreign dignitary.
Meanwhile, around 33 international flights were rescheduled on Saturday at Tribhuvan International Airport in view of the VVIP movement. According to the airport authority, around 55 international flights for Sunday have been rescheduled too.
The airport, however, will remain open all night on Saturday to manage the rescheduled flights, according to a notice issued by the airport authority.
Xi and the Chinese delegation are scheduled to depart for Beijing at around 12:30pm on Sunday.
According to Rabi Kumar Poudel, spokesperson for the Metropolitan Traffic Police Division, the routes used by Xi and his entourage will be closed to the general public on Sunday as well.
“Efforts are on to ensure normal vehicular movement as soon as possible. The routes will be closed one hour before and after VVIP movements,” said Poudel.