AHMEDABAD — U.S. President Donald Trump will inaugurate the world’s largest cricket stadium when he arrives in Ahmedabad, the home base of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Monday at the start of a two-day visit aimed at smoothing ties strained by trade disputes.
Making his first official trip to India, Trump is also expected to visit the abode of Gandhi in Ahmedabad.
The leaders of China, Japan and Israel have all visited Ahmedabad since Modi became prime minister.
If his Indian hosts can help it, Trump probably won’t see a slum as they’ve ordered for a 400-metre wall to be built along his route to block the view of where poor people live.
Authorities in Ahmedabad expect to spend around $11-12 million on preparations for the visit by the American president that is likely to last around three hours, two government officials with direct knowledge of the plans told Reuters.
The sum is equivalent to about 1.5% of the annual budget for the home ministry in Gujarat.
Security-related costs, with more than 12,000 police officers expected to be deployed, will account for almost half the expense, said the officials, who declined to be named as they are not authorised to speak publicly about the visit.
Ahmedabad municipal commissioner Vijay Nehra, the city’s top civic official, told Reuters that authorities had already spent around $4.2 million on widening roads and improving infrastructure around the new cricket stadium.
With capacity for 110,000 spectators, the Motera Stadium will dislodge the Melbourne Cricket Ground as the world’s largest cricket stadium.
“Eighteen roads of about 20 kilometers in length from Ahmedabad Airport to Motera Stadium have been widened or re-laid,” Nehra said, adding that the improvements had been planned before Trump’s visit was confirmed.
A further $840,000 will go on “beautification” of the city, said Nehra, including erecting the wall to spare Trump’s view.
Ashok Brahmbhatt, secretary of Gujarat Cricket Association, which owns the Motera Stadium set to be opened by Trump, said it would also spend tens of millions of rupees during the event.