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Monday, 9 October, 2000, 14:50 GMT 15:50 UK
Special arrangements at Bombay hospital
Atal Behari Vajpayee
Mr Vajpayee's aides will operate out of the hospital for 10 days
By Sanjeev Srivastava in Bombay

The prestigious Breach Candy Hospital in south Bombay - where Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee will undergo knee surgery - is fully decked out to greet its VVIP patient.

The hospital has got a fresh coat of paint and floors are being scrubbed three times a day.

Operation Vajpayee
Fresh coat of paint and floors being scrubbed
500 policemen and 100 commandos for security
Sharpshooters on buildings adjoining the hospital
New computers and fax machines for prime minister's aides
The seventh floor - where Mr Vajpayee will be staying - has been completely sanitised and cleared of all other patients.

More than 500 policemen and about 100 commandos of the elite Special Protection Group(SPG) have been deployed to protect the prime minister.

At the hospital itself, entry has been restricted to policemen, hospital staff and sniffer dogs, which have been stationed in the hospital to detect explosives.

Sharpshooters have been positioned on the terraces of buildings adjoining the hospital.

The beachfront and the coastal stretch near the Breach Candy hospital have also been sanitised with SPG and naval patrol guards guarding the rocky seafront on motor launches.

Excessive security

Some city organisations have complained about the security preparations being excessive and bound to inconvenience others, especially in terms of resulting in traffic jams as the Breach Candy hospital is located at an extremely busy traffic junction.

We'll try our best to be as unobtrusive as possible and there will be minimum of traffic diversions

Bombay police chief MN Singh
However, the Bombay police commissioner, MN Singh, does not think the security agencies were over-reacting.

"We'll try our best to be as unobtrusive as possible and there will be minimum of traffic diversions once the prime minister is in the hospital.

But at the same time no chance can be taken with the prime minister's security," he said.

The knee surgery on Prime Minister Vajpayee will be performed by Dr Chitranjan Ranawat, a US-based doctor of Indian origin who is regarded as one of the best in field of knee and hip joint replacement surgeries.

Dr Ranawat arrived in Bombay on Sunday along with his anaesthetist and a trained nurse from New York.

Ministers should work

The prime minister, who is expected to remain in the hospital for 10 days, has asked his cabinet colleagues to concentrate on work and not to spend public money by visiting him in the hospital.

The only two exceptions are his old friend, Home Minister LK Advani - who has been asked to be in Bombay until the surgery is complete - and the Minister for Information Technology, Pramod Mahajan.

Mr Mahajan has been assigned the task of briefing the media about the prime minister's health.

However, most key officials of the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) will be in Bombay and for the next 10 days will be functioning out of the Breach Candy hospital's seventh floor.

New fax machines and computers have been installed in one of the rooms on the seventh floor which will help the Indian prime minister - and his officials -n running the affairs of the nation.

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See also:

13 Sep 00 | South Asia
Knee surgery for Vajpayee
31 Aug 00 | South Asia
Media question Vajpayee's health
24 Jan 00 | Health
Laser scan for damaged knees
29 Aug 00 | South Asia
Vajpayee in command despite fears
08 Oct 99 | South Asia
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