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Campus, airstrip get ready for President
- AC pandal at ISM grounds for May 10 convocation

Dhanbad, May 7: Dhanbad and Indian School of Mines (ISM) will give a grand welcome to President Pranab Mukherjee, who will attend the premier institution’s convocation as the chief guest on May 10.

ISM, which will be hosting the gala event at its lower grounds, has roped in Delhi-based NK Kapur and Company Pvt Ltd to build a mammoth fully air-conditioned pandal besides sprucing up the entire premises.

All roads on the campus have been repaired while the boundary walls have been given a fresh coat of paint.

The statue of Shyamal Chakraborty, an SBI employee who died along with former Dhanbad SP Randhir Prasad Verma during a bank dacoity, has been shifted from near the front gate to a garden inside the compound.

“A total of 125 labourers are working day and night for more than a week to ready the pandal that can seat 1,400 people. The structure has been divided into two portions — a main pandal spread over an area of 200ftx90ft and an adjacent one of 140ftx30ft. The main stage is of 50ftx30ft and will have stairs on both sides,” said managing director of NK Kapur and Company Pvt Ltd Jatinder Kapur, who is camping at ISM for three days.

The fireproof and waterproof pandal will have 66 air- conditioners of 425 tonnes, for which power will be drawn from generators. “The plywood floor inside the pandal will be covered with green carpets while a red carpet will be laid on the path from the road to the pandal,” Kapur added.

The main function will begin from 2.30pm while the President will arrive in an Indian Army helicopter from Ranchi around 2.15pm for which the Barwaddah airstrip, situated around 4km from ISM, has been given a new look. The runway has got a layer of pitch while the main gate and boundary wall have been repaired.

The airstrip guesthouse, comprising two large rooms and a hall, has been renovated too with marble being laid on the floor and air-conditioner installed at the VVIP room.

A trial flight of the helicopter from Ranchi to Barwaddah was scheduled for Wednesday, but was deferred due to bad weather. It is likely to be carried out on Thursday.

S.K. Sinha, an assistant sub-inspector of Dhanbad police, said 26 policemen would be deputed at the airstrip on May 10.

Sources said Governor Syed Ahmed will accompany Mukherjee from Ranchi to Dhanbad. Chief minister Hemant Soren and state HRD minister Geetashree Oraon may also come. “So far, we have not been informed about any official engagement of the President in Ranchi,” an official at the cabinet coordination department said.

Three cardiac ambulances will be kept on standby — one at the airstrip, one on ISM campus and the third in the presidential carcade.

Mukherjee will return to Delhi via Ranchi the same day.