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PostSubject: I puilled this story off Google News...   I puilled this story off Google News... Icon_minitimeFri Nov 05, 2010 1:28 pm

and I've got to say...I like this way of thnking!

MUMBAI: While US President Barack Obama will touch down in Mumbai only on Saturday, the high-profile visit has already begun to take a toll on the livelihood of small-time traders-photographers, pigeon-feeders, ferry operators and shop owners-who work in and around the Gateway of India.

Officially, the area is to be shut from November 5 to 7, but photographers were stopped from conducting their business from November 2. "The photographers were banned from entering the Gateway of India after a certain section of the media reported that cops have been allowing them to operate here by taking bribes," said a source. Obama's trip hasn't gone down well with these traders as they do brisk business during Diwali.

When this journalist visited the Gateway, she found only a handful of photographers taking pictures of tourists. The rest of the photographers were stationed outside the barricaded area of the heritage structure. "Our Diwali is spoiled," said a visibly-upset photographer. A photographer earns only Rs 200 a day. "There are days when we don't even get a single customer. Diwali is on Friday this year. This holiday, combined with the weekend, would have ensured a steady stream of customers," said another photographer. "The ban has ruined our Diwali."

The US President's visit has also clipped the wings of the city's pigeon feeders. Vikram, who has a bird-feeding business at the Gateway, said, "I have a big family. How am I supposed to support them? I will lose business worth Rs 4,000. I'm also worried about the birds. Who will feed them?"
The hustle and bustle around the gateway remained the same despite the police bandobast around the Taj, tourists seemed enjoying their walk around the gateway-posing for pictures taking a tonga ride-feeding pigeons. A group of Chinese visitors were busy taking pictures of the taj hotel. One could sense a mixed feeling about the tourist spot being shut during the US President's visit to the city. A 22-year old girl who was feeding pigeons didn't like the idea of Gateway being shut during Obama's visit. She said, "Why should they close it. This is real India-he must see all this-this is what we are all about. It is really not fair to us.''
Pigeon feeder Vikram is worried about the birds and his family. He said, " I have a big family to look after. I will lose business worth Rs 4000 when the place is shut because of Obama. It is slightly worrying but one cannot do anything about it.''

But another bystander said, " One should look at the positive side of the US president's visit to Mumbai. If he comes here-it is only going to help us do more business with the US. The financial loss is just temporary and can be recovered within no time. Don't know why people are making an issue.''

While a senior citizen from the US refused to comment on the idea of keeping entry at the Gateway shut during Obama's visit, a young couple from Holland felt it is really not fair if it is going to hit the livelihood of the people in the area. But the man said, " but it happens everywhere. We are from Hollywood if any foreign dignitary is visiting Amsterdam the streets are cleaned out completely.''

The area around the Taj and gateway is being decked up with a new garden being developed just across the road with readymade grass being laid around Shivaji's statue. Cops are being stationed at all the four corners of the Taj.

That's not all. Those of you who were planning to head to Alibaug this weekend should probably book a cab. The ferry services to Alibaug will be shut from November 5 to November 7. A ferry operator told TOI, "While Obama enjoys his visit to Mumbai, we'll have to stay at home because of him. "As many as 12 boats, each with a capacity of 40 people, ferry from here to Alibaug. Each passenger pays Rs 60. We will lose all our business during Obama's stay.''

Shops in Colaba, too, may have too down shutters. Viren Shah, president of Federation of Retail Trade Workers' Association (FRTWA), said, "How can shops be closed during Diwali. I have written to the police commissioner, requesting him to allow people to shop.''

Read more: Gateway traders told to clear coast for US President's visit - The Times of India http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mumbai/Gateway-traders-told-to-clear-coast-for-US-Presidents-visit/articleshow/6868327.cms#ixzz14RBqbiEO
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PostSubject: Re: I puilled this story off Google News...   I puilled this story off Google News... Icon_minitimeFri Nov 05, 2010 8:47 pm

The girl who was feeding the pigeons is absolutely right. Unfortunately, host countries always feel an obligation, however misguided, to upgrade/beautify the places that are going to be visited, and I suppose there's the security angle too. But I feel sorry for the traders and the pigeons.
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