Charminar offensive awaits Pravasi brigade

Hyderabad, Jan 5 | Updated: Jan 6 2006, 06:27am hrs
Hyderabad is all decked up to receive Indias prodigal sons and daughters for the three-day Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas (PBD) starting on Saturday. The Andhra Pradesh government, which is hosting the jumboree is pulling out the stops to market the city to NRIs. Most of the main roads have been relaid and neatly marked to offer the guests a smooth ride to the venue at the newly-constructed Hyderabad International Convention Centre at the HITEX grounds near Madhapur which is the nucleus of the IT and ITeS business.

At least 1,500 NRIs are expected over the next few days. The event will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on January 7 and President APJ Abdul Kalam will grace the concluding function on Monday, January 9. Security has been tightened in the light of the terrorist attack at IISc Bangalore a few days ago.

Interestingly, this is going to be the second visit in just a week for both the Prime Minister and the President who were here for the 93rd Indian Science Congress. While the final programme details are yet to be released, its not going to be all business. A slew of cultural events has been scheduled to entertain the visitors after a hard days work.

As host, Andhra is pinning its hopes on the event leading to a spurt in FDI flows to the state. Others states, too, are gearing up to woo the visitors. According to reports, 12 states, including Bihar, J&K, Maharashtra and the four southern states, have confirmed their participation along with their CMs, while Assam, Chhattisgarh and Goa are just taking stalls.

The newly-elected CM of Bihar, Nitish Kumar, is reported to be coming with a huge delegation to woo NRIs.

The highlights include the much-awaited launch of the Overseas Citizenship Scheme (OCS), with the PM presenting the first OCS card.