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Prez to celebrate New Year at Rashtrapati Nilayam
Tribune News Service

Hyderabad, December 23
President Pratibha Patil will celebrate New Year in the city. Patil, who arrived here on Saturday along with her family members on a 14-day southern sojourn, will stay at the Rashtrapati Nilayam, an imposing 19th century building at Bolarum on the city’s outskirts.

The 16-room majestic structure, built during the Nizam period, plays host to the presidents during their southern retreat once a year.

Spread over 90 acres, the sprawling complex is infested with snakes as shrubs in its premises make for a good hiding place for the serpents. When the first citizen comes calling, the authorities get busy, clearing the shrubs with the help of snake catchers.

This time around, four experts from Nehru Zoological Park were put on the job to ensure a safe stay for the presidential entourage.

The Rashtrapati Nilayam, constructed in 1860 by the erstwhile Nizam rulers of Hyderabad, has 16 rooms, visitors’ quarters that can accommodate more than 150 people, a massive dining hall, a cinema hall and a Darbar hall.

Unlike her predecessor A P J Abdul Kalam, who had stayed here only for three days during his entire tenure, Patil will enjoy the Hyderabadi hospitality till January 7. She will celebrate New Year at the Nilayam.

Patil was given a warm welcome at Begumpet airport when she arrived by a special flight. The Governor N D Tiwari, Assembly Speaker K R Suresh Reddy, several ministers and Congress leaders welcomed her.

The President is scheduled to visit Andaman and Nicobar islands and the temple town of Tirupati from Dec 26 to 29. She will return to New Delhi on January 7.

Tight security arrangements have been made for the President’s visit including installation of close-circuit TVs at the Nilayam.

“Apart from the A P special police platoons, additional police force has been deputed for the purpose,” the city police commissioner Balwinder Singh said.

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