Distribution of welfare assistance to the tune of Rs. 90 lakh, honouring of freedom fighters and a colourful cultural show by students marked the 65th Independence Day celebrations on the VOC Park grounds in the city here on Monday.
The celebrations began with the District Collector, M. Karunakaran, unfurling the national flag at 9.30 a.m. and taking the salute.
He reviewed the parade by the police personnel, home guards, fire and rescue services personnel, NCC cadets and Road Safety Patrol squad. Mr. Karunakaran honoured the freedom fighters.
Unprecedented security cover was made in and around VOC Park with binocular wielding police personnel on high rise buildings maintaining aerial surveillance. Visitors were frisked at the entrance.
The Collector distributed welfare assistance to 106 beneficiaries to the tune of Rs.90 lakh.
Three persons were presented with certificates for 2008 Flag Day collections. Hearing aids were presented to 10 hearing impaired persons, marriage assistance to 40 persons, sewing machines to five Adi Dravida persons, 19 iron and sewing machines to persons of Backward and Minority Communities.
The Collector also distributed assistance to five persons under the Social Welfare department's scheme, agricultural gadgets to 5 persons , educational loans to 16 students and financial assistance to three persons for starting new business. The Collector also decorated S. Rathinasamy of the Economic Offences Wing of the City Police with the Chief Ministers' Medal.
Two visitors from overseas drew the attention of the gathering, as they watched the entire proceedings keenly. Robyn Richardson and Margret Johnson from the United States of America were the guests at the parade.
They posed for photographs with the national flag.
A spectacular cultural show by over 1,000 students from eight schools presented with the traditional fervour and modernity kept the audience spell bound for over one hour despite the soaring mercury level.
Students from Government Girls Higher Secondary School, Big Bazaar Street, P.S.G.R. Krishnammal Higher Secondary School, Chandra Matriculation Higher Secondary School, C.S.I Girls Higher Secondary School, St. Joseph Matriculation Higher Secondary School, Stanes Anglo Indian Matriculation Higher Secondary School, Perks Matriculation Higher Secondary School and Nehru Vidyalaya Matriculation Higher Secondary School.
Finally 11 canine sleuths from the Coimbatore City Police demonstrated their skills in detecting explosives and narcotic substances.
City Police Commissioner Amaresh Pujari, Inspector General of Police – West Zone K. Vanniya Perumal, DIG of Police - Coimbatore Range B. Bala Naga Devi, Superintendent of Police E.S. Uma, Corporation Commissioner T.K. Ponnusamy, DCPs T. Senthil Kumar (Crime and Traffic), Vivekanandan (Headquarters), Chief Education Officer Anandhi, Coimbatore South MLA R. Duraisamy. District Revenue Officer Karpagam and other officials took part.
Isha Foundation celebrated the Independence Day by distributing 10,000 saplings to the public. District Collector M. Karunakaran gave away the first sapling. District Forest Officer V. Thirunavukarasu, members of Isha Foundation and the public participated.
C. Swaminathan, Vice-Chancellor, Bharathiar University hoisted the national flag at the university premises. Sixty-five saplings were planted inside the campus.
P. Murugesa Boopathi, Vice-Chancellor, Tamil Nadu Agricultural University hoisted the national flag at the university premises. S. Balaji, Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and Director hoisted the national flag at the Tamil Nadu Forest Academy.