Monday, June 23, 2008

Amritsar Gets Tourism Police

Amritsar seeks to safeguard the interests of tourists who fall victim to crooks and cons. AMRITSAR – One of the most popular tourist cities in Punjab his hoping a 30-person special police squad will help protect its 100,000 daily visitors. Tourists have often fallen victims to cheats and touts and ended up losing their belongings and valuables, said Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal as he announced the formation of the Amritsar Tourism Police by the city’s district police department.

The tourism police will be stationed around-the-clock at Darbar Sahib, the airport, the railway station, bus stands and the Attari border.

"Special training has been imparted to these officers in tourism management,” said Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh, Amritsar’s senior superintendent of police, who will personally supervise the 30-member squad led by Inspector Ramnish Kumar.

“The main objective of the Amritsar Tourism Police will be to prevent harassment of tourists by touts, help in getting transport and lodging at appropriate rates and help avoid hassles at the railway station, airport, bus terminals and other important tourist locations."

At a joint news conference Thursday, the Punjab chief minister lauded the effort of the local police in protecting the city’s burgeoning tourist population.

"Amritsar is emerging as a sikh tourism hub, one of the most visited places in the world with about one lakh (100,000) visitors who come here every day,” Parkash Singh said. “They include a large number of devotees from other sates in India as well as from the foreign countries.”

It is not known whether tourists in need will be able to recognize a tourism-police officer from a regular officer.