Ahead of US President Donald Trump’s Agra visit, water released into Yamuna

Agra: Ahead of US President Donald Trump’s two-day India visit next week, his few hours at Agra, the town of the Taj Mahal, has spurred a makeover of sorts. Streets and wall are getting a fresh coat of painted and water is being released into the Yamuna, one of country’s major rivers.
The Trumps will begin their two-day visit on Monday in Ahmedabad, the largest city in PM Modi’s home state Gujarat. President Trump and his wife Melania will attend a mega “Namaste, Trump” event at a newly-built cricket stadium in Ahmedabad – said to be the world’s largest – and travel to Agra to see the Taj Mahal before reaching Delhi for the operative part of the visit.
A security team from the United States visited the iconic Taj Mahal, counted among the world’s most beautiful monuments, on Monday. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath also went to Agra the same day to review arrangements.
A photo-op with the spectacular marble monument in the backdrop is often in the itinerary for high profile visits.
On Thursday morning, fountains inside the Taj Mahal complex were cleaned. Visuals showed workers scrubbing away on fountains and pathways. Another photo from inside the monument showed a mud pack being applied to a portion of the monument to clean it.
There are strict guidelines in place for the repair and restoration of any monument maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India.
Shops outside the Taj Mahal complex have been asked to stick to uniform government-mandated signboards.
“All the houses, shops, restaurants and hotels on the main route and near the Taj Mahal area have been identified. The verification process is about to finish. Some teams have also been put for getting the verification done,” senior police officer Botre Rohan Pramod was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
“All this has been done so that there is no security lapse,” he added.
In the last few days, more than 500 cusecs of water has been released into the Yamuna, the lifeline of Delhi and UP, by the Uttar Pradesh Irrigation Department. The river, which passes through Uttarakhand, Haryana, Delhi, and Uttar Pradesh and flows behind Taj Mahal, has suffered heavily from industrial and sewage pollution in the last few decades.
The move may reduce the “foul smell” from the Yamuna, Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB) assistant engineer Arvind Kumar was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.
“If 500 cusecs of water has been released into the Yamuna to control pollution, it will improve the oxygen level in the river in Mathura and in Agra. It may not make the river water fit for drinking, but could reduce the foul smell,” he said.
A face-lift is also being given to the streets between Agra airport and Taj Mahal. More than 3,000 artists from Agra, Mathura, Vrindavan are expected to present cultural events along the 12-km route when President Trump and the US First Lady visit the city.
“We are widening the road between Air-force station and Taj Mahal, beautification work is also being done. Illegal hoardings are being removed,” Anil Kumar, District Commissioner, Agra Division, said.