Kollam: The departure of President Pratibha Patil from here for Thiruvananthapuram was delayed by 35 minutes on Wednesday morning as the air conditioning system of the IAF helicopter she was to board developed a technical problem, police said.

The President later left for the state capital by another helicopter arranged by the Air Force. Patil was scheduled to lay the foundation stone of an off-campus of Indira Gandhi National Open University in the capital at 11 AM.

According to sources, the President boarded the helicopter as per her day's schedule, but had to disembark as the air conditioning system of the helicopter was found not working.

The President and her entourage had to wait for 35 minutes at the Ashramam maidan here, where arrangements had been made for her travel to the state capital.

Patil, who was to depart from here at 10.10 AM, could leave only at 10.45 AM, sources said.

Patil had arrived here on August 29 and inaugurated the first President's Trophy boat race at the Ashtamudi lake on Tuesday. Security had been tightened in and around the town for the last three days in view of the Presidential visit.

(Agencies)