President on 5-day visit to State from today

22 May 2008
The Daily Excelsior
Mohinder Verma

Jammu: President Pratibha Devi Singh Patil, the first citizen of the country, is beginning her five days visit to Jammu and Kashmir from tomorrow. As per the schedule, she would address the jawans and have lunch with them shortly after her arrival to summer capital of the State tomorrow. This will be her maiden visit to the forward areas as well as Jammu and Kashmir after becoming the President. Later in the day, Mrs Patil will address convocation of Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS), Soura, Srinagar and attend the dinner to be hosted by the Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad at his Gupkar Road residence, Srinagar. The President will visit the world-famous tourist resort of Gulmarg, on May 24. On May 25, she will inaugurate the Bhaderwah campus of Jammu University and the next day she will address the convocation of Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agriculture Sciences, Jammu (SKUAST-J). From Jammu, the President will leave for Himachal Pradesh on a State visit and participate in official functions. The President will return to New Delhi on June 1, 2008. Meanwhile, the sources said that it would be a less spicy vegetarian fare for President Pratibha Devi Singh Patil and her spouse, during her stay in Jammu and Kashmir. Authoritative sources told the EXCELSIOR that President, Pratibha Devi Singh Patil and her spouse Dr Devi Singh Ramsingh Shekhawat have very normal food habits. She has only apparent differences in her food habits and tastes with her predecessor, Dr A P Abdul Kalam, who was also a vegetarian. 'Though she is fond of two food items- Uttappam and Daal, yet the Rashtrapati Bhawan has conveyed to the Hospitality and Protocol Department of the Jammu and Kashmir Government that she and her spouse would prefer only less spicy vegetarian food during their stay in the State', the sources disclosed. The Rashtrapati Bhawan, while conveying the food items, which the President is fond of, has not given any specific instructions about the other vegetarian cuisine which she will like to be served, the sources disclosed, adding 'the Presidentís chefs are also arriving here to personally look after the food preparation for the first citizen'. The Hospitality and Protocol Department while giving top priority to the vegetarian food items, would also make arrangements for non-vegetarian cuisine as it has been conveyed by the Rashtrapati Bhawan that some of the family members of the President like non-vegetarian cuisine also, the sources informed. Pratibha Patil and Dr Devi Singh Ramsingh Shekhawat are being accompanied by their children-a daughter Jyoti Rathore and a son-Rajendra Singh, their spouses and four grand-children besides entourage of 19 officers including Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission, Montek Singh Ahluwalia. Not only for the dinner which the Chief Minister, Ghulam Nabi Azad will host for the President at his Gupkar Road residence, Srinagar tomorrow evening, the chefs from the Rashtrapati Bhawan will also give instructions to the Hospitality and Protocol Department for the breakfast, lunch and dinner which Pratibha Devi Singh Patil and her family members will take during their stay in the State, the sources disclosed.