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Monday, Aug 22, 2005
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SAFETY NET: Security personnel scurrying to protect Prime Minister Manmohan Singh from nature's fury at Begumpet airport on Sunday. Photo: K. GAJENDRAN
HYDERABAD: A sharp shower sent security men scurrying for umbrellas as the Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, changed from a helicopter to a special Indian Air Force aircraft. He was leaving for New Delhi at the end of his brief visit to the State on Sunday afternoon.
As a result, the ceremonial farewell to Dr. Singh by the Governor, Sushil Kumar Shinde and the Chief Minister, Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, turned out to be a low-key affair. The formalities of seeing him off could not be gone through in the rain.
Dr. Singh quickly made his way up the ladder after shaking hands with one or two VIPs. Mr. Shinde hurried to take shelter in his car while the Chief Minister, the Chief Secretary, Mohan Kanda, and others were drenched. The rain receded immediately, even before the aircraft took off.
The Prime Minister's departure was delayed by 40 minutes. Earlier, he was accompanied by the AICC general secretary, Digvijay Singh, and the Union Minister of State for Medical and Health, Panabaka Lakshmi. A large number of leaders received him and offered the Congress scarf.
The Nalgonda MLA, Komatireddy Venkat Reddy, explained the seriousness of the flourosis problem in the district and sought a financial package. The former MP, Y. Sivaji, requested waiver of loans of small farmers.
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