Civic agencies are busy with the final preparations for the Republic Day parade and the two-days US President Obama will be in India. From sweeping the roads to collecting garbage and chasing away monkeys, no stone has been left unturned to ensure things are in place.
“We have cleaned the roads near Rajghat thoroughly, and have removed all debris and garbage. Even the corners of bus stands have been cleaned,” said Mukesh Yadav, spokesperson of the South Delhi Municipal Corporation. Obama is scheduled to visit Rajghat on January 25 to pay homage to Mahatma Gandhi.
Yadav added that no extra monkey catchers were hired to clear the area before Obama’s visit, but officials present would ensure no animals entered the premises.
The ridge area too, close to ITC Maurya Sheraton where Obama will stay, is home thousands of monkeys but NDMC officials said they were not hiring more people to keep them at bay.
“We have kept food for the monkeys within the ridge so they don’t move out. We spend around `1.30 lakh a month for their food to keep them away from residential areas,” said Jalaj Srivastava, chairman, NDMC.
Like each year, civic agencies have also cleared the areas near Rajpath off dogs, so the parade is not interrupted.
“All the stray dogs are handed over to non-governmental organisations or dog shelters. They stay there until the Beating Retreat ceremony concludes. They will be later released in the same area,” said a senior NDMC official.
As Obama will spend most of his time in the NDMC area, the council is also trying to keep beggars away. But this has not been easy. “It is not something to do with US President Obama…we have been trying to shift the beggars in the area to a night shelter keeping in mind the cold. But we have faced resistance from the beggars themselves,” said Srivastava.