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Gujarat civic body builds wall to shut out slum on Donald Trump route

The Ahmedabad civic body is building the wall, which is more than half a kilometre long and six to seven feet high, on the stretch that leads to Gandhinagar from Ahmedabad airport as part of its beautification drive around Sardar Patel Stadium in Motera.

Written by Ritu Sharma | Ahmedabad | Updated: February 13, 2020 3:28:33 pm
donald trump, donald trump india visit, donald trump in india, sardar vallabhbhai patel stadium ahmedabad, donald trump gujarat visit, donald trump gujarat slum, indian express Near Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport in Ahmedabad. (Express photo by Javed Raja)

The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) is building a wall along the road connecting the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport to Indira Bridge, ostensibly to mask the slum area on the likely route that US President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi would take for the roadshow when the visiting leader lands in Ahmedabad on February 24. Read in Malayalam | Tamil

The civic body is building the wall, which is more than half a kilometre long and six to seven feet high, on the stretch that leads to Gandhinagar from Ahmedabad airport as part of its beautification drive around the airport and Sardar Patel Stadium in Motera.

“The 6-7 feet high wall is being erected to cover the slum area on an estimated 600-metre stretch. This will be followed by plantation drive along the stretch,” said a senior AMC official who did not want to be named.

Read | Ahmedabad dresses up for Kem Chho Trump

More than 500 kutcha houses with an estimated population of 2,500, are part of decades-old Dev Saran or Saraniyavaas slum area. The AMC is also planting fully grown date palms along the Sabarmati Riverfront stretch as part of the beautification.

A similar beautification was done during Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his wife Akie Abe’s two-day visit to Gujarat to attend the 12th India-Japan annual summit in 2017 as well as Vibrant Gujarat Summit the same year.

President Trump, in a video put out on Wednesday, was seen telling reporters how Modi told him there might be “5 to 7 million people just from the airport to the new stadium (Motera)”, which would be nearly the population of the whole of Ahmedabad city.

A roadshow is likely to be held from the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport to Sardar Patel Stadium in Motera. Sources said instructions have been passed on to education departments in Ahmedabad district and city rural to arrange for 25,000 students each while a similar number of attendance has been demanded from the Gujarat University authorities. In addition to this, nearly 1,000 teachers each have been asked to be a part of the audience from both rural and city government schools.

Almost all district departments are busy working on a “fool proof” management of the event during the US first couple’s visit. Sixteen committees have been created under the core committee headed by the Collector.

Speaking to reporters at the Oval office a day after the White House announced dates of his visit, Trump said, “He (Modi) said we will have millions and millions of people. My only problem is that last night we probably had 40,000 or 50,000 people… I’m not going to feel so good… There will be five to seven million just from the airport to the new stadium. And you know is the largest stadium in the world. He’s (Modi) building it now…”

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