Trump’s India visit; Modi’s Gujarat builds wall to hide slums

Construction work is progressing for a wall to hide out a slum area on the route that United States President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi would take for a roadshow in Ahmedabad later this month, The Indian Express reported on Thursday. The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation is erecting the wall along the road connecting the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport to Indira Bridge.

The civic body is building the wall, which is run for more than half a kilometre, as part of its beautification drive. “The 6-7 feet high wall is being erected to cover the slum area on an estimated 600-metre stretch,” an unidentified AMC official told The Indian Express. “There are more than 500 kutcha houses in the decades-old Dev Saran or Saraniyavaas slum area. Over 2,500 people live there. This will be followed by plantation drive along the stretch,” the official added.

The civic body is also planting fully grown date palms along the Sabarmati Riverfront stretch.

President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump will travel to New Delhi and Ahmedabad on February 24 and February 25. Modi and Trump are likely to hold a roadshow from the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport to Sardar Patel Stadium in Motera.

Prime Minister Modi on Wednesday said he was “extremely delighted” about the visit. “India will accord a memorable welcome to our esteemed guests,” he had tweeted.

Trump said he spoke to the prime minister over the weekend, when Modi told him that millions of people would welcome him at the airport in Ahmedabad on February 24. Trump joked that he may not feel so good amid such a huge number of people.

“When we have 50,000 people, I’m not going to feel so good,” he said. “We’ll have five to seven million people just from the airport to the new stadium. And you know it is the largest stadium in the world. [They are] building it now. It’s almost complete and it’s the largest in the world.”

The US president was referring to the new Sardar Vallabhai Patel Stadium, where he will attend a “Kem chho Trump”, or Howdy! Trump, event. About 1.25 lakh people are expected to attend the event.