Ahead of Donald Trump’s visit to India, there are scores of reports claiming that Ahmedabad, the city which is hosting the US President, is building a wall to hide slums from the President’s view. Here are some examples.
A Bloomberg report republished in NDTV titled New 4-Foot Wall To Hide Slums From President Trump’s View In Ahmedabad. Time headline says New 1,640 Foot Wall Built in Indian City to Hide Slums From View During ‘Namaste Trump’ Presidential Visit. The Times of India headline reads Wall being constructed to hide slums from Trump. These are only some of the examples. Political parties in the opposition camp like NCP and Shiva Sena have also using such reports to mock the administration.
However, it has now emerged that the construction of wall has nothing to do with Trump’s visit, and the decision to this effect was taken two months earlier. Also, the Ahmedabad civic authority stated that the objective of having such a wall was essentially to contain the spread of unauthorised houses being constructed in the city.
India TV has reported that “Sarani Awas, the area where the wall is being built has seen unauthorised encroachment for past 50-60 years. Unauthorised constructions have seen a spike in last 2-3 years, and it was to limit this that the wall is being built.”
It quoted Vijay Nehra, Commissioner of Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation saying that “the decision to build the wall was taken much before Trump’s tour to India was finalised, and it was just a coincidence that the actual work started when Donald Trump’s India visit was finalised.”
Vijay Nehra has sent out a tweet in this regard as well.
Truth has a way of coming out
The decision to build a 4 feet wall was taken 2 months ago to prevent encroachments on footpath & road.
— Vijay Nehra (@vnehra) February 19, 2020
In another video retweeted by AMC commissioner, he made some logical points.
- The decision of building a wall was taken two months earlier when the commissioner himself visited those slums and held discussions to improve their condition. At that time, it had come to the notice of the administration that there is further encroachment going on towards the road, harming the vegetation that was planted on the sides of the road. The decision to create a wall was taken to prevent this encroachment.
- The height of the wall is only four feet. It cannot hide the view of the slum, and that was not the intention in the first place.
- Ahmedabad is in the forefront of building houses for slum dwellers and poor. (When we checked, there are news reports from time to time to back this claim of the commissioner.)
It is therefore evident that the news reports regarding the wall are hiding facts to weave an eye-ball catching stories ahead of the American president’s visit.