Guwahati, April 19 (IANS) Authorities have stepped up security in Assam ahead of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's one-day visit to the state Friday amid a 12-hour strike called by ULFA militants to protest the high-profile visit, officials here said. A powerful Improvised Explosive Device (IED) was meanwhile recovered from Lower Assam.
The police and security forces in Assam have drawn up an elaborate security plan in and around Guwahati ahead of the prime minister's visit, officials said Thursday.
The anti-dialogue faction of the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) has called a 12-hour Assam shutdown Friday to protest Singh's visit to the state.
Meanwhile, security forces deployed in Lower Assam's Chirang district Thursday recovered an IED from the railway tracks in the district.
"The IED was a powerful one and weighed about three kg. It was planted at Maneswari, about one-km from Bijni railway station in the district," said Chirang Superintendent of Police Debraj Upadhay, while adding that two detonators and some fuse wire were recovered from the spot.
"The IED was recovered during a routine patrolling by police and security forces," he added.
The police and security forces inspected the three venues -- Nehru Stadium, B. Barooah Cancer Institute and the Dispur parade ground -- where the prime minister is scheduled to visit. Strict surveillance is in force at the venues.
The Assam Police has pressed into service 10 additional companies to ensure adequate security in and around the city Friday. At least 10 senior officers, not below the rank of superintendent of police, will supervise the security arrangements till the prime minister returns to Delhi Friday evening.
"The prime minister is scheduled to arrive the Lokapriya Gopinath Bordoloi International (LGBI) Airport at 10.55 a.m. From the airport, the prime minister and the security personnel accompanying him will be flown to the Nehru stadium by helicopters. From Nehru Stadium, he will visit the B. Barooah Cancer Institute at 11.30 a.m.," said Ashutosh Agnihotri, deputy commissioner Kamrup (Metro) district. Guwahati is part of this district.
Singh is also expected to meet Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, his cabinet colleagues, ministers and senior bureaucrats at Raj Bhavan in Guwahati. He will also be meeting Governor J.B. Patnaik.
"The prime minister is scheduled to visit the Dispur parade ground to inaugurate the Platinum Jubilee celebration of the Assam Legislative Assembly at 12.05 p.m. and he would leave for the Raj Bhavan from Dispur parade ground at 13.05 p.m.," Agnihotri said.
"At 4.25 p.m. the prime minister will be flown back to Lokapriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport (LGBI) airport, from where he would leave for Delhi," Agnihotri said.
"We are also keeping the road from airport to Nehru Stadium under strict surveillance as in case of bad weather, the prime minister will travel from airport to Nehru Stadium by road," he said, adding that the police is going to close all the roads for civilians at least half-an hour ahead of the scheduled visit.
The Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) had also cancelled some trains between some Upper Assam and Lower Assam towns from Guwahati. Some of the trains have also been rescheduled due to the security threat, sources in the NFR informed.