Ahmedabad scrubbed clean for PM Modi, Xi Jinping visit

Ahmedabad, Sep 12: From relaying roads and painting the pathways to trimming trees and lighting up the streets, an army of civic workers are on double-shift to give a face lift to this largest city in Gujarat where both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping are scheduled to visit coming on Wednesday.

"More then Rs.10 crore ($1.7 million) has been specially aloocated for spricing up the city for our prime minister's visit. Our chief minister (Anandiben Patel) wants a lasting impression about the city when the Chinese President comes calling," a senior state government official told IANS.

From the airport to the upmarket areas of Vastrapur, and beyond, the civic body is doing all it can to make the ride for the two dignitaries a scenic and smooth one. Visibly, the Ahmedabad Municipal Corp (AMC) is going all out to leave an impression.

"New footpaths are being made, roads are being cleaned. The areas from airport to the hotel that didn't have proper roads will get new ones. For that alone Rs.1 crore ($170,000) is being spent. En route, roads are being swept, the grass plucked and every streetlight pole painted."

Even the speed-breakers are being leveled, like the ones near Blind People's Association and the Gujarat University quarters.

This will be Modi's first visit to the state after becoming the prime minister and Xi's first to the subcontinent.

All government buildings, bus stops, major land marks, and historic places are being spruced up and illuminated with neon bulbs and flowers.

The two leaders are scheduled to stay at a hotel in Vastrapur, where the local residents are quite happy.

"If Modi had not visited the area, then the civic body would not have bothered to clean up the place. Modi's visit is a blessing in disguise," said Vastrapur resident, 49, on condition of anonymity.

Over the lake by the same name, Vastrapur is an upscale area in Ahmedabad which is also home to the prestigious Indian Institute of Management.

Security has been beefed up at the Sabarmati Riverfront where Modi will spend around 95 minutes along with Xi Jinping.

At Sabarmati Ashram, hectic work is on to welcome Modi and Xi.

A resident near Sabarmati Ashram said: "The footpath is being relaid after 26 years."

Lights have been installed on the riverfront.

Modi and Xi will take a walk along with river front and have dinner in the backdrop of Gujarat cultural show and music.


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