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50,000 Indians to hear Modi at ‘Marhaba Namo’ event in Dubai

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Dubai: All roads in Dubai would be leading to the Dubai International Cricket Stadium where 50,000 Indian expatriates have registered for ‘Marhaba Namo’ – a grand public reception being held for visiting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday evening.

Modi, who is on a two-day visit to the United Arab Emirates, is to address the Marhaba Namo, which is being touted as another Madison Square-like event.

The ‘Marhaba Namo’ is being hailed as unprecedented in the history of the UAE where for the first time a visiting head of state has been allowed a reception on this scale.

The seating capacity inside the stadium is 30,000, an additional 15,000 will be accommodated outside the stadium, where food stalls, DJs and two large video walls will broadcast Modi’s speech live.

Seeing the unprecedented response, the organising committee issued an alert that registering online is not a guarantee for admission into the Dubai Cricket Stadium.
Under directives of Dubai Police, the organisers said that gates to the stadium will open at 3 p.m. to allow the public. Modi is expected to address the event at 8 p.m. in an hour-long address.

The cultural programme will begin at 6.30 p.m. featuring 35 international artistes who have been flown down especially for the event.

Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) is organizing around 200 public buses to take people to and from the stadium.

A press statement issued by ‘Marhaba Namo’ said that online registration through a dedicated website www.namoindubai.ae does not ensure entry to the stadium for the public reception for Modi.

Access to the event would be on first come first entry basis, it said. “Gates of the stadium will be closed as soon as it is filled to capacity,” the statement added. Children below five years of age will not be allowed and bringing of food, cameras and video cameras will be restricted, said organisers.

Around 40,000 food packets will be ready for visitors and free water will be provided, they said. Giant screens outside the stadium will display the event live for people unable to enter the stadium, the organisers said.

Addressing a press conference on Sunday, Anurag Bhushan, Indian consul general, said: “We are privileged that Modi has decided to pay a visit which comes after 34 years after the last visit made by the then prime minister, Indira Gandhi, in 1981. The fact that he is coming here on a standalone visit makes the Indian community justifiably proud. We want this to be a momentous and memorable event.”

B.R. Shetty, member of the reception organising committee Namo in Dubai, said: “This is a dream come true for all Indian expatriates. We want this event to conclude smoothly so that both the Indian government and the UAE government can have reason to be proud of the Indian community here.”

Five ambulances – three for the stadium and two for the spillover crowd – have been deployed. A team of 55 health-care professionals comprising 30 doctors, 12 paramedics and 13 nurses will be in attendance. They will be split in teams of five attending to medical emergencies inside and outside the stadium, said gulfnews.com.

Over 1,000 volunteers wearing badges will assist the people, in addition to 340 private security personnel and a contingent of Dubai Police. While radio stations will provide live updates, no live relay of the speech has been permitted by the National Media Council, it said. The UAE is home to 2.6 million Indian workers.