Latur all decked up ahead of President's visit

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Latur, Jan 18 (UNI) Latur is all decorated and swathed in a sea of colours ahead of the visit of President Pratibha Devisingh Patil, who will arrive here this evening to attend a function marking the silver jubilee of the creation of this district.

Security has been heightened and the city is all dotted with security personnel manning every nook and cranny and the movement of the people here.

Ms Patil, on a daylong visit, will arrive here at 1800 hrs and attend the function, massive preparations for which are underway, at the District Sports Complex.

This is the first ever visit by any President to this city since Independence.

During the function, Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil, who hails from this district, Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, who is an MLA from here, and his younger brother Diliprao Deshmukh will be among several dignitaries who would be present. Ahead of Ms Patil's visit, the district administration has given closure orders to several shops, restaurants and establishments for four days, citing security concerns.

Government buildings and offices have been decorated with buntings, streamers and fairylights and school children are busy making preparations for the colourful programmes they are going to present this evening before the President.

The district was created in 1982 and Mr A R Antulay was the Chief Minister of the State.

The Chief Minister said, ''It is an honour for the district of Latur that the President is visiting here. We feel privileged and honoured to have her here.'' UNI RL SHB BST1112

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