UP govt. officials disappointed at cancellation of Obama visit

Updated - April 01, 2016 11:47 pm IST

Published - January 24, 2015 08:27 pm IST - Meerut:

Hours after news broke about the cancellation of US President Barack Obama's Agra visit, there was a sense of surprise and disappointment among the UP government officials. Interestingly, there was no official reaction from Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav or the Chief Minister's Office.

The top official machinery of the State Government has been camping in the city over weeks now to prepare Agra to welcome the President on January 27.

The disappointment was there, said one senior official, because of the elaborate month-long preparations to welcome the President of the United States of America. Not least because there was an "unprecedented" arrangement to provide security cover to the Obamas.

The extent of preparations can be understood by the fact that over 600 workers were engaged for several days to scrub and clean spit stains over several kilometres of Agra roads.

Thousands of Indian security personnel were engaged to provide security cover to the Obamas, right from Kheria airport to the Taj. Hundreds of CCTV cameras were installed and special commandos were deployed to cover the route of 11 kilometre from the airport to the Taj.

The State government had decided to close the Taj from 9 am on January 27, till the time the Obamas leave the city, for common visitors.

UP government officials remain tight lipped and refused to speak on record over Obama's visit, now cancelled and the reasons for cancellation.

"We were just informed about the cancellation of the visit. No reason was given to us by the U.S. Security officials who left Agra this noon," said one senior official of the Agra administration.

Agra Divisional Commissioner Pradeep Bhatnagar denied that security was the reason behind the cancellation of the high profile visit to Agra.

"The MHA, I must add, was very categorical in saying that the cancellation of the visit was not due to security reasons but perhaps due to other engagements," he added.

Senior officials of the state security establishment insisted that Agra administration was ready with "unprecedented" security cover involving on the ground and aerial security for the Obamas.

The State police had set up anti-missile system in and around Taj Mahal and along Yamuna Expressway. All communicable frequencies were also planned to be jammed in and around Taj Mahal during their visit to Agra.

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