UP: Agra spruced up for Trump’s visit; residents say let him come every month for ensuring a clean city

Kusum Tewari


AGRA: Notwithstanding the minor hardships that people of the Taj city would face in view of the tight security visit of US President
Donald Trump on February 24, the garbage-free roads, spruced up road dividers with flower beds, clean water in
Yamuna and the freshly painted sidewalks and other structures on roads leading to the monument have got the Agraites talking that such VVIP visits should be a monthly affair to ensure a real beautiful city.

The city’s eyesores, the garbage dumps and encroachments, have all been removed along the travel route of US President’s cavalcade. The otherwise ignored statues, usually covered with bird droppings, on city’s roundabouts and roads are also getting attention and are being cleaned spic and span. Flower pots have been placed on the sides of the roads and planted in the road dividers. Even the shabbily growing trees have been pruned to look their best.

Even the electric poles are being decorated with tri-colour lights and repair work on the pot-holed roads and broken footpaths is under way in full swing.

About 60,000 small flags of India and the US are being put up on the poles along the route of Trump’s travel from airport to the
Taj Mahal. Not only this, nearly 200 hoardings, including cut-outs of Trump and Prime Minister
Narendra Modi, have been erected, right from inside the airport to the Taj Mahal.

Nearly 120 sets of India-US flags are being put up on all major crossings and 2,000 such flags are being affixed on electric poles along the route.

Over 500 standees are also being placed along the route, besides massive hoardings at different locations of the city.

Talking to TOI,
Agra DM Prabhu N Singh said that all hoardings and standees are government approved and the work for putting them up was started in Friday evening and would be finished by Sunday. He said that they got only nine days for making all arrangements and the present view of city speaks for itself.

Though the administration is not ready to disclose the amount spent on preparation for Trump’s visit to Agra, sources said that crores of rupees have been spent on it.

“Such days are better than any festival,” said a 67-year-old resident of Dayalbagh, Anand Kumar. He said that he had never seen such beauty in Agra ever in his life. “If the US president’s visit is such an important affair for India, then he’s welcome every month and it would benefit us,” he added.

Sandeep Arora, who has been going to courts for several issues relating to Taj, said though the apex court order could not make much changes since 1996, US president Trump’s visit has changed the look of the city especially Fatehabad road. “Cleanliness in the city, water and removal of encroachment have been done within a week,” he said, adding that it has been established that anything could be done if the administration really wants.

Vice president of Tourism Guild Agra Rajiv Saxena said, “Fatehabad Road has been transformed to celebrate Trump’s arrival into Agra exactly as described in Ram Charit Manas when Diwali was celebrated by Ayodhya on the return of Lord Rama after slaying of Ravana. Agra would like Trump to arrive every month and would love to welcome him to every part of city so that the entire city could be spruced up.”

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