Trump in India: Hiding the poor and shantytown of Ahmedabad for US president's visit

WION New Delhi, India Feb 20, 2020, 11.32 PM(IST)

India spends crores on Trump prepping to show 'New India'. Photograph:( Agencies )

Story highlights

The shantytown falls on Trump's route from the Ahmedabad airport to the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Stadium.

India is making grand arrangements for US President Donald Trump's visit. Ahmedabad, Agra and New Delhi are being spruced up.

One of the so-called beautification projects has landed in the lap of controversy. Indian authorities have built a wall to hide a stretch of a slum. 

The shantytown falls on Trump's route from the Ahmedabad airport to the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Stadium.

The US President is landing in Ahmedabad in a couple of days. The streets of the city are being cleaned, the bridges are getting a fresh coat of paint and the city's greenery is being upped.

Also read: Trump visit: US first lady likely to visit Delhi govt school, interact with students

There are flower-pots, lights are being installed and to ace the beautification game, the not-so-beautiful slums are being covered.

According to reports, a 400-meter-long wall has come up in Ahmedabad. It is along the route of the Trump-Modi roadshow. 

Critics say that the wall is being built to block a shantytown from Trump's sight.

What the Indian authorities don't want the US president to see is the living condition of 2,000-odd poor locals. 

And just like Trump's Mexico wall, the Ahmedabad wall too has divided the entire nation. 

Also read: Focus on reviewing bilateral ties, strengthening global partnership - MEA on Trump's visit

While some ask what's wrong in beautification? Others say there's a stark difference between beautification and cover-up. 

Those living in the slums say that the authorities have gotten their priorities wrong. 

Keshi Saraniya, shantytown resident says, "since they are spending so much money on this wall, why not use that to improve our community and provide better facilities for us". 

Another resident here demands "proper arrangements" for their living. 

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The papering-up of shanties isn't really the wisest thing to do. Back in 2010, when India was hosting the commonwealth games, the Indian authorities wanted the world to see a rapidly developing nation.

All slums then were covered with bamboo curtains. The move boomeranged. The international press cameras focused more on what was behind the blinds. 

This time as well, people are talking about the Ahmedabad wall. The government is being accused of hiding poverty.

What the administration wanted to curtain has now made its way to the spotlight.