‘Fortress’ Chandigarh ready to host French President Hollande

François Hollande will arrive in the city around 1 pm, to visit the Rock Garden, Capitol Complex and Government Museum and Art Gallery in Sector 10 accompanied by PM Narendra Modi.

Written by Express News Service | Chandigarh | Updated: January 24, 2016 10:20 am
President Hollande, accompanied by Prime Minister Modi, will also visit Rock Garden. Express Photo by Kamleshwar Singh President Hollande, accompanied by Prime Minister Modi, will also visit Rock Garden. Express Photo by Kamleshwar Singh

With unprecedented security arrangements in place and the city donning a spruced up look, the stage is set for French President François Hollande visit to Chandigarh Sunday. President Hollande is the chief guest at this year’s Republic Day parade in the Delhi. He will be in Chandigarh for five-and-a-half hours.

President Hollande will be the second French president to visit the city.

The presence of security personnel could be seen across the city, especially on the route that the motorcade of Hollande will take.

Hollande, who will be accompanied by a group of ministers and a contingent of French businessmen, will visit the most frequented tourist spots of the city accompanied by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The 61-year-old president will be received by Punjab and Haryana Governor Prof Kaptan Singh Solanki, Member of Parliament Kirron Kher, UT Adviser Vijay Kumar Dev, UT home secretary Anurag Agarwal and UT Mayor Arun Sood.

Hollande will arrive in city around 1 pm and will head to Hotel Taj. Chandigarh has a French connection as it was planned by French architect Le Corbusier. Hollande has expressed his desire to see Le Corbusier’s works. During his visit to the city, Hollande will visit the Rock Garden, Capitol Complex and Government Museum and Art Gallery in Sector 10.

Hollande will go to Capitol Complex around 2:30 pm. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will arrive around 2:30 in the city and will meet French President at the Rock Garden, a sculpture park, around 2:45pm. Both the leaders will spend around 15 minute in the garden from where they will go to Government Museum and Art Gallery where some of the fossils found during excavation carried out by a joint team Indian and French scientists at foothills of Shivalik will be put on display.

french president, chandigarh french president visit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, republic day, chandigarh news ITBP jawans in front of Hotel Taj in Chandigarh. Kamleshwar Singh

The duo will reach Taj hotel for a summit around 3:30 pm and will leave the city for Delhi after the event around 5:30 pm. Aim of the summit is to create the framework for an open and action-oriented dialogue between top business leaders and government leaders from both countries. During the event, both the leaders will address the gathering and will exchange agreements and memorandums of understanding (MoUs).

The Chandigarh administration has given a makeover to the city and a day before the high profile visit, the entire machinery was busy in giving final touches at all the places which the French President and Indian Prime Minister will visit.

All public places, including the venues where the French President and Prime Minister Modi are scheduled to visit will remain open. However, restrictions will be imposed on movement of vehicles on the route to be used by the dignitaries.

Traffic curbs

Traffic will be halted for some time Sunday on the roads the motorcade will pass through. After Hollande’s arrival at the Chandigarh airport around 1 pm, his motorcade will move towards the Tribune roundabout from where it will take a right turn towards the road leading to Transport Lightpoint. The motorcade will move on Madhya Marg towards Hotel Taj. Access to Madhya Marg will be restricted during that time. Traffic movement near Taj hotel and Sector 10 will be stopped on the main road when the French President will arrive in the city.

Folk performances

The BJP will organise folk performances at four points on the route that is to be taken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Francois Hollande. All the performers are volunteers who will undergo intensive security checks Sunday. Haryanavi, Punjabi and other folk performances will be organised.

BJP leaders to receive PM

BJP leaders from Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh will receive Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Chandigarh Airport Sunday. Apart from MP Kirron Kher and Mayor Arun Sood, BJP city chief Sanjay Tandon, former Union Minister Harmohan Dhawan, former MP Satya Pal Jain, vice president of city BJP unit Raghubir Lal Arora and general secretaries Prem Kaushik and Chander Shekhar will receive the PM.

Security matters

Around 5,000 security personnel are guarding the city in view of the visit. These include personnel of SPG, ITBP and BSF apart from police personnel from Chandigarh, Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh.

Hoardings with photographs of French President Francois Hollande and Narendra Modi displayed on the street light poles on Madhya Marg in Chandigarh. Express Photo by Kamleshwar Singh Hoardings with photographs of French President Francois Hollande and Narendra Modi displayed on the street light poles on Madhya Marg in Chandigarh. Express Photo by Kamleshwar Singh

1,000 banners across city

Even as the Municipal Corporation does not allow a single banner to be installed in the city, for the visit of French President Francois Hollande and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, permission has been given for putting up 1,000 banners at various points across the city.

Joint commissioner Virender Chaudhary said officials from the Ministry of External Affairs had sought permission from the MC in this regard.

The boards that have pictures of Modi and Hollande at the entrance mention ‘Welcome’ and those at the exit say ‘Thank you.’ These words are written in French as well on alternate boards.