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Hyderabad ready for Bush visit
Syed Amin Jafri in Hyderabad | March 02, 2006 16:52 IST
Even as the Left parties and Muslim groups stepped up their anti-American protests, Hyderabad is bracing up for the four-hour visit of United States President George W Bush and First Lady Laura Bush on Friday.
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The US security personnel, central para-military forces and Andhra Pradesh police have thrown a heavy security cordon around the two venues - Acharya N G Ranga Agricultural University at Rajendranagar and the Indian School of Business at Manikonda - included in the US President's itinerary in the state capital.
Bush is the second US President to visit Hyderabad after his predecessor Bill Clinton made a brief trip to this southern city on March 24, 2000. He is expected to make announcement of a $ 100 million initiative for agricultural research when he visits ANGRAU campus on Friday morning to interact with progressive farmers, agricultural scientists and members of women's thrift groups at ANGRAU.
The US President is also scheduled to interact with a select group of young entrepreneurs at the ISB. The Andhra Pradesh government is eagerly waiting for an announcement by George Bush on the opening of US consulate in Hyderabad, the fourth in the country.
Bush is expected to arrive by Air Force One at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport at Begumpet. He will heli-hop to the two venues before flying back to New Delhi. AP Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhar Reddy hopes to have a one-to-one meeting with Bush during his four-hour visit.
Governor Rameshwar Thakur and the chief minister will receive Bush and the First Lady at the airport. The Bush couple will then fly in US marine helicopters to ANGRAU, about 25 km from airport. Four helipads have been readied on the campus, which has been declared out-of-bounds for everyone, except the select group of invitees.
Koya tribals from Khammam will perform a dance to welcome the visiting dignitary. The chief minister will introduce his cabinet colleagues and other eminent personalities to Bush.
The US President will have a look at the National Seed Project, a government of India initiative. Agricultural scientists will showcase their research on latest cultivation technologies, seed technology, plant protection and pest control at ANGRAU, one of the four universities selected for assistance under the World Bank-assisted Agricultural Human Resource Development Project.
Bush will also meet Green Revolution pioneers – Nobel Peace Laureate Dr Norman E Borlaug and World Food Prize awardee M S Swaminathan. They will brief him on the latest trends in agricultural research, particularly in India. He will interact with few progressive farmers using new water efficient farming technology and cultivation methods for high-yielding varieties using organic manure.
Since Bush's itinerary excluded a visit to a village in adjoining Mahbubnagar district for security reasons, some members of the women self-help (thrift) groups are being brought to ANGRAU to brief the US President on the advantages of the massive thrift programme.
With eight million women enrolled in half-a-million self-help groups, Andhra Pradesh is considered as a model for empowerment of women and poverty reduction in rural areas. Under the scheme, each woman member saves one rupee a day round the year and the government gives a matching grant for starting self-employment ventures.