The city of Agra is getting a makeover ahead of US President Donald Trump’s two-day visit to India next week. President Trump’s car nicknamed --The Beast -- has already arrived at the Agra airport to ferry the President and First Lady of US to one of the seven wonders of the world -- Taj Mahal. However, Agra authorities have raised concerns over the diesel-run car that is going to ferry around the Taj Mahal, Hindustan Times reported.
The Supreme Court order of India 1998 bars the use of any vehicle except electric conveyance in close proximity to the 16th-century monument.
Authorities also expressed concerns over The Beast which weighs around 6.4 tonnes, to cross a dilapidated railway overbridge along with a convoy of SUVs. Authorities claimed that the one-kilometre long bridge is made only for light vehicles, HT report added.
Officials in Agra are yet to reveal the details regarding the vehicle to be used by the visitors. According to the superintending archaeologist (Agra circle), Archaeological Survey of India, Vasant Swarankar, cited in the HT report, the Supreme Court’s guidelines of using only electric vehicles will be complied with.
The Agra Development Authority has prepared a well-furnished, battery-operated, bus which can be used in an exigency. However, Centre has not confirmed on its deployment on February 24, HT report added.
Bill Clinton, in his visit to India in 2002, used a special battery-operated bus, although he was accorded VVIP treatment, as per media reports.
The Railway bridge
In 2019, The Uttar Pradesh Public Works Department (PWD) had announced the railway overbridge unfit for heavy vehicles. The bridge, at its starting point, has a board that reads: not fit for heavy vehicles.”
According to Yogesh Pawar, superintending engineer, PWD, the administration has already informed the Agra authorities regarding the condition of the bridge. The final decision on the route selection is still to be taken by them. The PWD has already initiated the process of preparing the bill. However, it remains unsanctioned with the Agra authorities, as per HT report.
President Trump will visit Agra after his mega-event “Namaste Trump” at a newly-built cricket stadium in Ahmedabad. For this, Agra authorities have painted the walls around the airport. They have also released fresh Yamuna water in the channel situated right in front of the Taj. More than 3,000 artists from Agra, Mathura, Vrindavan will present cultural events along the route, NDTV reported.