Local authorities will go the extra mile to make sure US President Donald Trump doesn’t get the stench coming from India’s Yamuna River while enjoying the view of the iconic Taj Mahal mausoleum.
Officials in India’s northern Uttar Pradesh state will dump 500 cusecs (14,160 liters per second) of water into the Yamuna, which is connected to the Ganges, in order to improve “environmental conditions” in the state’s capital Agra, a senior engineer with the regional irrigation department, Dharmender Singh Phogat, told local media.
The extra water will reach Agra by the afternoon of February 21, three days before the beginning of Trump’s two-day visit to India. Arvind Kumar, assistant engineer with the state’s Pollution Control Board, said the measure “may not make Yamuna’s water fit for drinking, but could reduce foul smell from the river.”
It is so far not entirely clear whether Trump will set foot in Agra at all. After talks in New Delhi, the US leader is expected to arrive in the city where the iconic Taj Mahal stands, but some reports suggest that he may choose the city of Ahmedabad on the northwestern coast instead.
India is placing high hopes on Trump’s visit, and local authorities have been trying their best to make a good impression. An archaeological survey official told India Today that they were given an order to drive stray monkeys away from the Taj Mahal during Trump’s trip, while a police chief expressed fears that the officers’ usual weapon against the animals – the slingshot – is “completely ineffective” against large swarms.
Meanwhile, Agra’s Public Works Department has sounded the alarm, warning that one of the bridges along the route of Trump’s motorcade may not be strong enough to hold his bulletproof limo.
These elaborate preparations have not gone down well with everyone in India, though. One Hindu party earlier lashed out at the government’s plans to hide slums behind a wall along the route Trump’s motorcade will take, and even likened the arrangements to those made for British royals during colonial times.