Ahmedabad: US President Donald Trump will inaugurate the world’s largest cricket stadium when he arrives here Monday, the home base of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, at the start of a two-day visit aimed at smoothing ties strained by trade disputes.
Making his first official trip to the world’s largest democracy, Trump is also expected to visit the humble abode of Mahatma Gandhi here.
The leaders of China, Japan and Israel have all visited this city since Modi became prime minister. This city is the biggest in Gujarat where Modi had been a chief minister for a substantial amount of time before the BJP took control in Delhi.
If his Indian hosts can help it, Trump probably won’t see a slum as they’ve ordered for a 400-metre wall to be built along his route to block the view of where poor people live.
Authorities here expect to spend around Rs 100 crore on preparations for the visit by the American president that is likely to last around three hours, two government officials with direct knowledge of the plans said Monday.
Security-related costs, with more than 12,000 police officers expected to be deployed, will account for almost half the expense, said the officials, who declined to be named as they are not authorised to speak publicly about the visit.
Ahmedabad municipal commissioner Vijay Nehra, the city’s top civic official, said that the authorities had already spent around 30 crore on widening roads and improving infrastructure around the new cricket stadium.
With capacity for 1,10,000 spectators, the Motera Stadium will dislodge the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) as the world’s largest cricket stadium.
“Eighteen roads of about 20 kilometers (12 miles) in length from Ahmedabad Airport to Motera Stadium have been widened or re-laid,” Nehra said, adding that the improvements had been planned before Trump’s visit was confirmed.
A further Rs 10 crore will go on ‘beautification’ of the city, said Nehra, including erecting the wall to spare Trump’s view.
Ashok Brahmbhatt, secretary of Gujarat Cricket Association, which owns the Motera Stadium set to be opened by Trump, said it would also spend more than Rs 5 crore for the event.
Nehra tweeted Sunday that more than 100,000 participants had registered so far to greet Trump as he heads from the airport to the city centre. Trump said last week Modi had promised ‘millions and millions’ of people would line his route.
Trump may also visit the famous Taj Mahal monument in Agra, and all leave for police officers in that city has been canceled, according to an official.
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