Wall on Trump route to mask slum: Civic body to reduce height

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A wall is erected by AMC along the road connecting the Ahmedabad airport to Indira Bridge in Gandhinagar. (Express photo/Javed Raja)

AFTER THE Indian Express reported that the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation is building a six-feet-high wall, ostensibly to mask a slum area, on the route that US President Donald Trump and PM Narendra Modi would take on February 24, the AMC has decided to reduce the structure’s height “so that the view is not obstructed”.

Speaking to The Indian Express, municipal commissioner Vijay Nehra said: “We are clear that the wall’s height will be four feet. Inadvertently, the height in the first part had been kept at six feet in the design by zonal engineers. When this was brought to our notice by the Express report, we instructed that the height should be kept at four feet so that the view is not obstructed from the road to the slum. Some six-feet-high columns have already been built, which will be cut down to four feet.”

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Nehra said the wall was “only being rebuilt in place of an existing one that was broken”. The over half-kilometre wall is being built along the road connecting Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport to Indira Bridge.

When The Indian Express visited the site late Thursday evening, it found that work had been stalled.

“With the wall getting dilapidated, (the construction) was an attempt by the corporation to repair the wall. The main objective was that the old dilapidated structure should not lead to any safety issues,” Nehra said.

Over 500 kutcha houses, with an estimated population of 2,500, are part of the decades-old Saraniyavaas slum area along this road.

“Two months ago, I had visited the area and discussed with slum-dwellers the possibility of an in-situ slum upgradation, and giving permanent houses. They agreed. We have asked them to talk to their community members and give us the final word,” Nehra said, adding that he was not aware of Trump’s visit at the time.