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Walls rise in Ahmedabad ahead of Donald Trump visit

Workers build a wall along a slum area in Ahmedabad on February 13, 2020 as part of a beautification drive along a route that U.S. President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be taking during Mr. Trump’s visit.

Workers build a wall along a slum area in Ahmedabad on February 13, 2020 as part of a beautification drive along a route that U.S. President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be taking during Mr. Trump’s visit.   | Photo Credit: REUTERS

Ahmedabad Municipal Commissioner denies it is part of plan to hide slums.

From resurfacing roads and planting palm trees along the streets to building a wall apparently to hide slums, the Gujarat government is pulling out all the stops to impress U.S. President Donald Trump, who will be the city’s guest for a few hours on February 24. 

However, Ahmedabad Municipal Commissioner Vijay Nehra told The Hindu that the “decision to build a wall to prevent encroachment on the road was taken two months back” and has nothing to do with the visit of U.S. President.

“It is not correct to link building of the wall to the VIP visit. After my visit to the area, we had decided in consultation with slum dwellers build a wall to prevent encroachment and secondly to save trees which were getting damaged,” Mr. Nehra said.

The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) has also ensured that no stray dogs or cattle — a routine presence on city roads — will be seen on the stretch from the Ahmedabad international airport to the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Stadium, better known as the Motera stadium, where the high profile Kem Chho Trump (Howdy Trump) event will be held.

Trees have been trimmed, fully grown palm trees have been planted and even electric poles and pillars of under-construction metro system have been painted while special cameras have been installed along the roads for enhanced security.

As part of its beautification drive, the civic body has built a new wall at a few patches to hide slums dotting the road from the airport to the Indira Bridge where the President’s convoy is likely to pass through on the way to the Motera stadium.

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In Motera, a middle class locality situated in the northwestern side of the city, all roads including inner streets have been resurfaced and refurbished.

“We are thankful to President Trump for making this trip, which has ensured complete makeover of our area,” said Ratnabhai Rabari, a resident and cattle breeder in Motera village.

According to officials, more than a dozen roads and streets from the airport to the Sabarmati (Mahatma Gandhi) Ashram and Motera stadium have been refurbished, with pavements and electric poles and pillars freshly painted by the civic body and metro rail authority.

A man cleans the walls of a house at the Gandhi Ashram in Ahmedabad on February 13, 2020 ahead of the visit of U.S. President Donald Trump.

A man cleans the walls of a house at the Gandhi Ashram in Ahmedabad on February 13, 2020 ahead of the visit of U.S. President Donald Trump.   | Photo Credit: AP

With the sprawling Motera stadium located on the bank of Sabarmati river, the entire area has been cleaned and sanitised several times over with repeated spraying by fogging machines to free the locality from mosquitoes.

To add to the festive atmosphere, cultural troupes from various States will be performing along the roads when the convoys of the U.S. President and the First Lady and Prime Minister Narendra Modi pass through.

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Printable version | Feb 20, 2020 12:11:49 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/walls-rise-in-ahmedabad-ahead-of-donald-trump-visit/article30812445.ece

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