Darbhanga is decked up to welcome President Pranab Mukherjee on Wednesday with the Lalit Narayan Mithila University campus being given a revamped look overnight.
For his one-hour stay to attend the university’s fourth convocation, the north Bihar town has got a new helipad besides fresh asphalt on road and paint for the buildings on the campus. According to the schedule, the President will land at the helipad, hardly 150 metres away from the convocation venue at Nagendra Jha Stadium, at 3.50pm.
“According to Mithila rituals, the President will be honoured with paag (headgear), doptta (shawl) and garland. Apart from the traditional respect, we will present him a memento,” the university’s vice-chancellor, Samrendra Pratap Singh, said.
During the convocation, Mukherjee will give away gold medals to 25 students of different streams. Maushami Priya, who has completed MBA from this university this year, has been selected for awarding the maiden “best postgraduate award”. However, because of time crunch, the degrees would not be presented by the President to each of the 1,307 recipients.
The convocation ceremony has changed the outlook of the university. The roads within the varsity premises have been repaired while two 200KW transformers have been installed for uninterrupted power supply. Fresh coat of paints have been put on several buildings but renovation of its walls and roofs could not be completed on time.
District magistrate Narmadeshwar Lal said: “All security arrangement is in place for the presidential visit. Now, we are reviewing the bandobast from all corners so that any glitch, if any, is plugged before the President arrives.”
During his hour-long stay, Mukherjee will not be served any lunch or breakfast but the university administration has kept seasonal fruits ready. If he wishes, the President may be served some snacks with coffee or tea. “Without prior security check, he will not be served anything,” said a university official.
Vice-chancellor Singh said: “We are preparing everything in accordance with the instructions by either the Raj Bhavan or Rashtrapati Bhavan officers.”
For students, who will get their certificates from the President, are quite excited. Dharamsheela Gupta, one of the PhD degree recipient in botany, said: “Degree is awarded to each student who qualifies in the examination but I am fortunate that my degree will be presented by the President. Perhaps, it’s the most joyous moment for me, as it will never come back in my life.”
However, residents of the town rued they would be denied a glimpse of the President. Vinod Kumar, a senior citizen, said: “When President APJ Abdul Kalam came here for the university’s second convocation, students broke the security cordon to reach to him. Probably that’s the reason this time security has been stepped up, denying us to even see him on Mukherjee’s first visit to the state after assuming the President’s chair.”
Besides the President, the dais will be shared by chancellor Devanand Konwar, chief minister Nitish Kumar, deputy chief minister Sushil Modi, education minister P.K. Sahi, public health and engineering minister Chandramohan Rai, vice-chancellor Singh, pro-vice chancellor Dhurv Kumar and registrar Vijay Pratap Singh.