President arrives in Shimla with family for holiday

May 28th, 2008 - 12:04 am ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Pratibha Patil

Shimla, May 27 (IANS) Accompanied by nearly a dozen family members, including children and grand-children, President Pratibha Patil arrived in this state capital Tuesday on a six-day holiday. This is her first state visit to Himachal Pradesh as President.

Patil flew in from Chandigarh at the Kalyani helipad, overlooking the forested Kufri hill in three Indian Air Force (IAF) helicopters.

Wearing a saree, a cheerful-looking Patil was accorded a warm welcome by Himachal Pradesh Governor V.K. Kokje and Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal and other top dignitaries. She was presented with traditional shawls and a Himachali cap.

She and her family will reside at the sprawling ‘Rashtrapati Niwas’, called ‘The Retreat’, at Chharabra, 15 km from here.

Patil will travel to Manali on a day-long visit May 29. She will leave for Delhi June 1.

Though her stay near this hill resort will mostly be at ‘The Retreat’, she will once come to Shimla during her stay for a public reception on the historic Ridge.

Being peak summer tourist season, her movement is being kept to bare minimum by security agencies so as not to cause harassment to tourists.

State government sources said that over 100 Rashtrapati Bhawan staff and officials are accompanying her on the holiday.

Nearly 200 vehicles and 1,000 state government officials and staff will look after the comfort of the president and her entourage during the visit.

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