Agra: Before the arrival of US President Donald Trump on Monday evening, the historic northern Indian city of Agra has turned into a fortress with the heavy deployment of police, para military and special commandos.
According to police officials, the Uttar Pradesh government has deployed over 10,000 policemen along the road, roof tops, road crossings, trees and just about everywhere.
The river police squad has been activated, and it will patrol the river when the water level is increased on Monday.
The state irrigation department has discharged copious quantity of fresh water from canals of the Ganga to fill up the river Yamuna in Agra, to make sure Trump is not put off by visual pollution and the stink in the holy river.
Officials said the water from Gokul barrage will reach Agra on Monday afternoon.
“This is the first time that such an arrangement has been made. We wish the Yamuna river remained full of water round the year,” said Shravan Kumar Singh of the River Connect Campaign.
Police officials said that the visiting dignitary will take a battery operated golf cart to the Taj Mahal from Shilpgram complex, which is 500 meters away from the 17th century monument.
US security personnel have verified credentials of the drivers. Senior Superintendent of Police Bablu Kumar also briefed the drivers and gave them useful tips.
The police is all set to close the roads from Kheria airport to Taj Mahal, the stretch of 13 km from which the 70 car cavalcade of Us President will pass.
The police has also put barricades and closed the adjoining roads for the general public from 12 p.m. till 7 p.m.
Following the visit of the US First family here, the city has got a massive facelift.
The administration has put up huge billboards, placards, cutouts and several posters welcoming the US President and his wife Melania.
The 13 km-long route from airport to Taj Mahal has been spruced up aesthetically and the US and Indian flags have been put up at roundabouts to give the area a festive look.
At many places on the route, the administration has made several statues of animals with flowers.
The walls have been adorned with paintings reflecting the Brij culture and architectural heritage of Agra, Victorian-style lamp posts have been installed and the lawns of the iconic Taj Mahal bedecked with colourful blooms as the historic city gears up to welcome the US President.
According to the administration, over 3,000 artists at 21 different locations will perform for the US President to welcome him in the city of love and at the airport over 250 artists will give special performance highlighting the culture of Uttar Pradesh like Brij, Awadh, special performance on Lord Krishna, dance-themed on Radha and many others.
The US President will arrive in Agra at 4.45 p.m. and reach the Taj Mahal by 5.15 p.m. Trump will then spend an hour at the Taj Mahal and then will take off for Delhi for his final leg of journey.
Trump along with wife Melania Trump, daughter Ivanka Trump, and son-in-law Jared Kushner and top US officials arrived in Gujarat’s Ahmedabad on Monday morning and was received by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The couple will spend the five hours in Gujarat and then they would fly to Agra before moving to Delhi for the official reception and bilateral talks.
Trump will arrive at the Kheria airport here, where he will be received by Governor Anandiben Patel and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
The two leaders, however, will not accompany Trump to Taj Mahal and will wait at the airport to send them back to Delhi.
This is Donald Trump’s first State Visit to India and also the first standalone visit by a US President to India.
Before Trump, US President Bill Clinton visited Agra in March 2000 and Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1959.
By Anand Singh