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Flight trial for President visit

Dhanbad, May 8: The state and police top brass today conducted a trial run of an Indian Army helicopter from Ranchi to Dhanbad besides inspecting the ISM campus as part of preparations for President Pranab Mukherjee’s visit to the mining cradle on Saturday.

The Barwaddah airstrip, located about 5km from ISM where the President will be attending the convocation, resembled a fortress around 9.10am when an army helicopter touched down from Ranchi.

This was followed by another helicopter carrying acting chief secretary Sajal Chakraborty, DGP Rajeev Kumar and cabinet secretary J.B. Tubid.

The visitors held a meeting with the district officials for around half an hour at the guesthouse at the airstrip after which they inspected the runway before heading to ISM around 11am. The trio, accompanied by Coal Belt IG Lakshman Prasad Singh, DIG Deb Bihari Sharma, DC Prashant Kumar, SP Hemant Toppo, additional district magistrate (law and order) B.P.L. Das and district transport officer Ravi Raj Sharma, travelled via Bartand-Luby Circular Road, the same route that Mukherjee’s convoy would be taking on May 10 to reach ISM.

On the campus, they inspected the huge air-conditioned pandal at the lower grounds where the convocation will be held and noted down minute details of the arrangements from the ISM management.

The institute’s director Durga Charan Panigrahi, registrar Colonel (Retd) M.K. Singh, dean (faculty and planning) P.S. Gupta and other officials answered the queries raised by the team.

“The entire area is being sanitised. Enough number of policemen will be deployed to ensure foolproof security for the President,” said the DGP, refusing to give the exact figure of police deployment.

“We will try to cause minimum inconvenience to common people. The President’s route chart will be revealed a day ahead of his programme,” he added.

The President is set to arrive in an Indian Army helicopter from Ranchi at the Barwaddah airstrip around 2.15pm on May 10.