US President Donald Trump is visiting India on a two-day trip along with first lady Melania Trump, daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner. While the visit would mostly be a political and business one, the POTUS will take some time out with his family to visit the Taj Mahal in Agra. The city that will welcome the US President on Monday underwent a facelift and beautification in just about 60 hours over 5 days.
The city has been peppered with hoardings of both the leaders. The 10-km route from Kheria airport to the East Gate of Taj Mahal has been cleaned and beautified at an unprecedented pace. The walls along the road have been painted and the footpaths and roads re-laid in the run-up to his visit. The roads are being washed twice every day to reduce dust.
The horticulture department has placed 25,000 flower pots along the route. Electric poles and traffic lights have been decorated with a fresh coat of paint. Sewer openings have been plugged and hundreds of workers were hired to clean betel leaf or paan stains on the road. Additionally, all the shops on the route have been asked to install boards bearing the names in same size and colour.
The entire road has also been cleaned of litter. The ASI has also hired staff to prune the grass, clean the stones and re-lay damaged sections of the Taj Mahal. Even the banks of the river Yamuna have been cleaned.
Security in Agra
Hundreds of officers and police personnel have been rushed in to Agra from adjoining districts. Inspector General A Satish Ganesh is personally overseeing the security measures in Agra.
The UP Police has carried out two full rehearsals of the POTUS' movement between the airport and Taj Mahal. The monument has been turned into a fortress and every inch of the areas near the Taj Mahal has been checked multiple times.
The police has also visited every home alone the route and Aadhaar-based verification of every resident has been carried out. Vehicles that are parked along the road have also been verified.
Armed police personnel have been placed on the roofs of 180 houses and buildings along the route. Complexes around Taj Mahal have been checked and anti-terror squad and special operations teams with snipers have been put in place.
The monument will be closed for general public after 11 am on Monday. Once the visitors leave, the compound will be handed over to security for checks and sanitisation.
President Trump and Melania Trump will visit the monument first, followed by Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner.
The US side has also requested for a break from how dignitaries usually make rounds of the monument. Instead of walking on the left side of the central water body of the Taj Mahal, the POTUS and FLOTUS will walk on the right side. They will also only visit the first level and not the sanctum sanctorum or the real mausoleum of Shah Jehan and Mumtaz.
President Trump and his entourage will be in Agra for two hours on Monday after their visit to Ahmedabad. They will be inside the Taj Mahal for almost an hour after reaching Agra at 5:15 pm.
The visit to Taj Mahal will be a personal one and the POTUS and FLOTUS will not be accompanied by PM Modi. The US President will be welcomed at the airport by UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Governor Anandiben Patel.