India

India's Hyderabad gets a makeover for Ivanka Trump

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Media captionIndia's Hyderabad loves hosting Ivanka Trump

"There are two types of roads in Hyderabad - Ivanka Trump road and normal road,'' a local politician tweeted on Monday, as the southern Indian city of Hyderabad gets spruced up for a global business summit.

Residents seem convinced that the speed at which road repairs have been done is driven by the need to impress one attendee - Ivanka Trump, daughter and adviser to US President Donald Trump.

Ms Trump is leading her country's delegation to the annual conference, which will run from 28 to 30 November.

In the week leading up to Ms Trump's arrival, Hyderabad city administration has transformed the roads her motorcade will be passing through.

They have repaired potholes, cleaned up pavements, and coated road dividers and curbsides with fresh paint. Zebra crossings that were fading are now nearly glowing. In some parts, tree trunks have been painted green, pink or blue.

Earlier, police in the city had removed beggars from outside places of worship, and bus and railway stations and moved them to shelters as part of an initiative to declare the city "beggar free".

Critics said the move was due to Ms Trump's visit, but officials denied this.

The newly tarred, pothole-free roads, all of them on Ms Trump's expected route, are in sharp contrast to many other roads in the city, so much so that people are inviting her to visit their neighbourhoods too.

One resident suggested building Trump Towers in Hyderabad to ensure regular visits by Ms Trump and, therefore, better roads.

Even the crowded, older part of the city, has been touched up, earning Ms Trump an invitation to return every year.

Rajasekhar Mamidanna, a Hyderabad-based stand-up comic, made a video explaining how lucky he is to live in a part of the city that has benefited from a makeover, thanks to Ms Trump's visit.

Comparing the speed at which the repairs have occurred to an exaggerated scene from an Indian movie, Mr Mamidanna says, "The only other time I have seen a road being laid so fast was in a movie when the path on which the hero walks is transformed into a road as he passes through."

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Officials have repaired potholes, cleaned up pavements, and even painted tree trunks ahead of Ms Trump's arrival

With 10,000 police officers deployed across the city over the next three days, Hyderabad will likely resemble a fortress.

The Telangana state government has said it is spending 80m rupees ($1.24m; £931,734) on the summit, but it is not clear how much the road repairs have cost.

"Everyone is thinking we are laying roads for Ivanka Trump but that's not true," senior state government minister KT Rama Rao said. "It was part of the usual repairs we start after the monsoon every year."

But, whatever the motive may be, not everyone is impressed.

"Only the main roads which will be used by [President] Trump's daughter have been repaired," said Devender Reddy, a taxi driver. "Go into any of the lanes and you will drive straight into potholes.''