Trump may not visit Sabarmati riverfront2 min read . Updated: 23 Feb 2020, 03:56 PM IST
- The riverfront has welcomed guests like Abe and Netanyahu
- The upcoming visit draws mixed reactions from residents
Ahmedabad: As the sun sets on the Sabarmati riverfront, visitors throng the 'Marine Drive' of Ahmedabad in large numbers.
The riverfront with its cool breeze and stunning views in the background is a very popular spot for an evening walk, family outing or socialising.
The 11-km long riverfront project has parks, food kiosks, provision for boating and a walkway and cycling track along the river.
These days, the common topic of discussion here is the visit of President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump to Amdavad, as the local people like to call it.
The couple is arriving directly from Washington to Ahmedabad on Monday as part of their two-day visit to India. Trump will not visit the riverfront, but will get a view of it from the Gandhi Ashram.
The Sabarmati riverfront has been a popular choice for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to host his guests, including Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe and Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu.
The upcoming visit though draws mixed reactions from residents of Ahmedabad.
“We are very proud that the government has chosen Ahmedabad as the first city to receive President Trump. The event in Houston was a grand one so India has planned a larger affair. It also shows that PM Modi is trying to showcase his home state even though he has moved on to the Centre now. This will put Ahmedabad on a world map. He will also inaugurate the world’s largest stadium here," said Monica Patel, a chartered accountant, who was out with her group of friends.
According to news reports, over ₹80 crore has been spent on various development projects over the last two weeks for the US president's visit. Trump is expected to spend close to three hours in the city.
“The trip is great for Ahmedabad. We feel a sense of excitement that this place has been chosen. However, it is important that the President also sees the city how it normally is. Spending crores of rupees just for the sake of it makes no sense. This money could have been spent on the poor instead. Trump and his cavalcade is going to whiz past either way," said 25-year-old Nazia Khan said.
Others are also concerned about the purpose of the trip, given that it comes close to elections in the US.
“Trump is coming to India but there is already news that there will be no trade deal. This visit does not mean anything then. For most people, his visit will be a regular day but of course there will be extra security but that will also be in few parts of the city. This event could be in Ahmedabad or any other city. It is only for optics," Nihal Pandey, a 22-year-old engineering student, said.
Chief minister Vijay Rupani, while addressing a rally in Delhi, had announced that Trump would visit the riverfront. He had claimed that Sabarmati river was the cleanest in Asia.
The riverfront development project was the brain child of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was the chief minister of the state of Gujarat until 2014.
The Sabarmati riverfront has been gradually opened for public since 2012.