Authorities in Ahmedabad will spend around Rs 80 crore to Rs 85 crore on preparations for the upcoming visit by United States President Donald Trump, Reuters reported on Wednesday. In his two-day tour starting on February 24, Trump will spend only around three hours in the city.
The total expenditure is equivalent to about 1.5% of the annual budget of Gujarat. Of the total expense, almost half is security-related costs, two unidentified officials told Reuters. More than 12,000 police officers are expected to be deployed for the visit.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Trump will hold a roadshow in Ahmedabad. About 1.25 lakh people are expected to attend an event at the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Stadium – the world’s biggest cricket stadium that will be formally opened by Trump. The spectacle has been dubbed “Kem chho Trump”, or Howdy! Trump. Ashok Brahmbhatt, secretary of Gujarat Cricket Association, which owns the stadium, said it would also spend millions of rupees during the event.
Formerly called the Motera stadium, the 110,000-capacity stadium will overtake the 100,000-seater Melbourne Cricket Ground as the world’s biggest cricket venue. It will house a main cricket ground along with two smaller cricket grounds, four locker rooms, 75 air-conditioned corporate boxes and a club house for Gujarat Cricket Association members.
Authorities have already spent around Rs 30 crore on widening roads and improving infrastructure around the new cricket stadium, said Ahmedabad Municipal Commissioner Vijay Nehra. “Eighteen roads of about 20 km in length from Ahmedabad airport to Motera stadium have been widened or re-laid,” Nehra said. He, however, claimed that all of these had been planned even before Trump’s visit was confirmed.
The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation is erecting a wall along the road connecting the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport to Indira Bridge, allegedly to mask a slum in the city. As part of its beautification plan, the civic body will carry out a plantation drive along that route. It will also plant fully grown date palms along the Sabarmati Riverfront stretch. Authorities will spend Rs 60 million for this “beautification drive”, said Nehra.
Modi has a tradition of hosting world leaders in his home state. China’s President Xi Jinping went there in 2014, and Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon visited later.