India spruces up Taj city ahead of Trump’s Agra visit

Agra: Ahead of US President Donald Trump’s visit to the Taj city on February 24, the Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh has mounted a massive image makeover of the city, which people say is unprecedented.

More than 900 cusecs of water have been released by the state irrigation department, after the sorry plight of the river Yamuna was highlighted by the activists of the River Connect Campaign. The dry and polluted river bed was an eyesore that could ruin the mood of the visiting dignitaries, locals pointed out.

In the last two days, copious quantities of water have been released and men and machines mobilized to clean up the river bed right behind the Taj Mahal, just in case the president spends more time at the rear to view the Agra Fort and the river.

Responding to yellowing and dirt patches charges by local environmentalists, the Archaeological Survey of India has undertaken cleaning up of the monument in a big way, using the mud pack therapy to remove dark spots. The Taj Mahal should be ready by Friday, officials indicated on Thursday.

District authorities said more than 3,000 artists from Agra, Mathura, Vrindavan will present cultural programs along the way, including Ram Lila, Ras Lila, Panchkula, Nautanki. Over 20,000 school kids who have been screened, will line up the route with flags to bring cheer and add to the festivities.

The administrative officials said beggars in the city have been forced out of the city. The MG Road and the VIP road from the Kheria airport to the Taj Mahal will be sanitized and beggar less.

It will be a memorable visit in many respects, say tourism industry captains. Tourism should get a big boost with this visit, they hoped.

Trump is scheduled to reach Agra from Ahmedabad during his February 24-25 tour to India.

Trump will reach the Taj Mahal’s East Gate from the airport, covering a distance of 15 km.

US First Lady Melania Trump is likely to visit a Delhi government school in the national capital on Tuesday to watch the “happiness curriculum”.

According to senior government sources, the US President’s wife is likely to visit the Delhi government school in south Delhi and see first-hand the impact of the ‘happiness curriculum’ introduced by Delhi’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government.

Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia had introduced the happiness curriculum in the Delhi government schools two years ago as an attempt to reduce stress among school children, which involves 40 minutes of meditation, relaxing and even outdoor activities.

The sources said that Melania will be received by Arvind Kejriwal, who was sworn in as the Chief Minister for the third time on Sunday along with Sisodia.

This is Donald Trump’s first state visit to India and also a first standalone visit by a US President to India.

Meanwhile 2 Tweets, one from the Ministry of External Affairs and the other from Ajay Tomar (Special Commissioner of Police, Crime Branch Ahmedabad) contradicting each other on Thursday created confusion about the possibility of the US President Donald Trump’s visit to the Gandhi Ashram at Sabarmati.

The MEAIndia tweet states that the US President and First Lady Melania Trump accompanied by Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be going to the Motera Stadium for the ‘Namaste Trump’ event directly from the Ahmedabad airport.

However, an official tweet from Ajay Tomar, the Special CP, Crime Branch Ahmedabad says that the US President will arrive at Ahmedabad on February 24 and to welcome him, PM Narendra Modi will be here. Both of them will go to Sabarmati Ashram first, then they will go to Motera Stadium to attend ‘Namaste Trump’ event.’

Following the expected visit four days from now, the preparations were underway at the famous Gandhi Ashram. Apart from turning the place into a fortress and getting all the security aspects covered, there were also some infrastructure changes put in place at the Ashram.

The Trump couple was expected to spend half an hour at the Ashram. A new parking space was being created at the place. To the rear side of the ashram, a platform was being built so that PM Modi could show the entire Sabarmati riverfront to the visiting dignitaries from one place.

A special room was also being prepared at the Ashram, where the dignitaries would be spending some time. Sources said all that ongoing work has been halted for now.

Image courtesy of IANS

Share this post