West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee unfurled the tricolour and inspected a guard of honour at the Indira Gandhi Sarani (also referred to as Red Road) here on Wednesday, in a departure from the tradition of holding the event to commemorate Independence Day in front of the Secretariat.
The site of the I-Day parade is traditionally where the Republic Day parade takes place — a practice in place since 1948.
“Mamata Banerjee adhered to conventions last year but this year she decided to make Independence Day celebrations a mass affair and shift the venue from BBD Bagh to Red Road,” a statement on the Trinamool Congress website said.
The State government organised the day’s march past, in which personnel of the Kolkata Police, the West Bengal Police, the Railway Protection Force, the Eastern Frontier Rifles and the Fire and Emergency Services participated. Ms. Banerjee took the salute as the parade moved past.
In the programme that continued for nearly two hours, colourful tableaux of 12 departments of the State government rolled along Indira Gandhi Sarani.
While the tableaux of the School Education Department illustrated the provisions of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education, 2009, the Industry and Commerce department, modelled in the form of a ship, suggested renewed industrialisation.
Students from various schools danced to patriotic songs and artists from various parts of the State performed folk and classical dances.
Among the performances that drew the largest applause was the Chow dance of Purulia district as well as a scene from the play Balmiki Pratibha, written by Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore, which was performed by the inmates of correctional homes.
Elaborate security arrangements comprising watch towers, sand bunkers and additional deployment of 1,500-odd security personnel, were put in place for the event.