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Short stay for Pranab at Kotwali

Malda, July 30: President Pranab Mukherjee will spend just 15 minutes at Kotwali, the ancestral house of the Khan Choudhurys, when he visits Malda on August 1 to inaugurate the academic building of the Ghani Khan Choudhury Institute of Engineering and Technology.

Abu Naser Khan Choudhury, the Congress MLA from Sujapur and the chairperson of the central institute, said here today that the programme schedule sent from Rashtrapati Bhavan showed that just 15 minutes were allotted for the President to spend at Kotwali.

“A grand lunch would be kept ready for the President anyway. There will be preparations of fish like katla, pabda and rui. Shukto, postor bora, jhinge posto and curd and sweets will also be available. We are also keeping arrangements for light snacks, tea and fruit juices,” said Abu Naser.

He added that his wife Tandra was in charge of the lunch.

The MLA said Mukherjee would arrive by an Air Force helicopter from Purnea (Bihar) around noon on August 1. “He will land on the Narayanpur campus of the new institute where a 45-minute programme will be held. The President will inaugurate the academic building and after that, he will leave for Kotwali (a distance of 15km) by road. The President will pay his respects at the tomb of our late brother and return to the helipad,” said Abu Naser.

President Pranab Mukherjee

He said only six persons would sit with the President on the dais at Kotwali. They are governor Keshari Nath Tripathi, chief minister Mamata Banerjee, the two Congress MPs from Malda, Mausam Noor and Abu Hasem Khan Choudhury, the chairman of the institute and the secretary of the union human resources ministry. “We have not yet got confirmation whether the chief minister will attend the function,” said Abu Naser.

The administration is yet to decide where Mukherjee’s chopper would touch down at Narayanpur. Today, an IAF helicopter landed at and took off from the airport here around 11am.

Sources in the administration said the helicopter could not land at the helipad at Narayanpur as it was still under construction.

According to district magistrate, Sharad Dwivedi, the President will arrive by a helicopter from Purnea and land at a helipad in Narayanpur. “The PWD is constructing three concrete helipads of 30-metre diameter each at Narayanpur. The helicopter will land on one of them with the President. It will then take off for the airport. It is expected that the President will drive to the airport after his Kotwali visit and leave for Purnea,” the district magistrate said.