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Nepal gears up for SAARC Summit


Kathmandu, Nov 21 (PTI) Preparations for the 18th SAARC Summit has reached its final stages with Nepal Prime Minister Sushil Koirala today instructing officials to ensure fool- proof security to visiting dignitaries.

Koirala visited Hotel Soaltee Crowne Plaza in Kathmandu, where SAARC heads of the states and governments will stay during the summit which will be held from November 26 to 27.

He is personally involved in inspecting the main venue of the summit and accommodation facilities being arranged for the dignitaries.

Koirala visited the rooms where SAARC dignitaries are being accommodated including the suite where Prime Minister Narendra Modi will stay.

Eight special suits are being prepped up for the SAARC dignitaries in the posh hotel. Modi will stay at the Executive Suit of the hotel while other seven dignitaries will stay at Regal Suits.

Koirala has instructed officials to ensure maximum comfort and convenience to the dignitaries, fool-proof security and all necessary arrangements are in place, according to his aides.

Bilateral meetings are also scheduled to take place in the hotel on the outskirts of Kathmandu. The Nepalese capital has a new look ahead of the summit.

The roads have been renovated and black topped. Solar lights have been put up on several streets, flags of the eight SAARC member countries — Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka — have been installed at various places and main government buildings have been white-washed.

City Hall, the main venue of the summit, has been all decked up for the conclave.

Security has been tightened at the venues, government buildings and other sensitive areas. A four-tier security will be put in place under the command of Nepal Army during the conclave.

Nepal Police, Armed Police Force and National Investigation Department have also been involved with the security arrangements, besides the army.

The government has announced November 26 and 27 public holidays.

Educational institutions, however, will remain closed for four days from November 24 to ensure smooth traffic and for security.

Owners of vehicles with private and public number plates have been instructed to operate with odd and even numbers in rotation basis to avoid traffic congestion during the summit.

Security has been beefed up in Dhulikhel, a town situated 60 km east of Kathmandu and where the SAARC dignitaries will have a retreat.

Dhulikhel is famous for its spectacular views of popular mountain peaks of Nepal.

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