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Independence Day celebrations | Over 4,000 invited for Red Fort event, says Defence Ministry

Preparation is in full swing at Red Fort on the eve of the Independence Day celebration, in New Delhi on August 14, 2020.

Preparation is in full swing at Red Fort on the eve of the Independence Day celebration, in New Delhi on August 14, 2020.   | Photo Credit: Sushil Kumar Verma

Over 4,000 people including diplomats, officials and media personnel have been invited for the Independence Day ceremony at the Red Fort and it is being organised maintaining a balance between dignity of the event and factoring in COVID-19 protocols, the Defence Ministry said on Friday.

It said the seating arrangement has been made under the guiding principle of Do Gaz ki Doori (maintaining distance of two yards) between any two guests.

It said members of the guard of honour have been under quarantine.

“With an eye on safety, NCC (National Cadet Corps) cadets have been invited to witness the event (instead of young school children) and they will be seated at Gyanpath,” it noted.

All invitees have been requested to wear masks, it said, adding that an adequate number of masks are being kept handy for distribution at various points of venue.

“Similarly, availability of hand sanitizers at pre-defined locations has been done. Display boards are placed discreetly to attract the attention of invitees,” the ministry said.

In order to facilitate people’s seamless movement and to avoid crowding, seating enclosures and walkways have been laid with wooden flooring and carpeting, it said.

Security personnel keeping vigil at Red Fort, as the preparation is in full swing for the Independence Day celebrations, in New Delhi on August 14, 2020.

Security personnel keeping vigil at Red Fort, as the preparation is in full swing for the Independence Day celebrations, in New Delhi on August 14, 2020.   | Photo Credit: Sushil Kumar Verma

Additional door frame metal detectors with adequately spaced markings have been provided to avoid queuing and to ensure smooth passage for all the invitees, it mentioned.

“Most of the parking areas have been brick lined and paved in order to ensure smooth entry and exit of vehicles to the maximum feasible extent,” it said.

Thermal screening at all entry points for the invitees has been planned, it mentioned.

It said a thorough sanitization of the premises inside and outside the Red Fort is being carried out on a regular basis.

The ministry said the participation is only through invitation and those who do not have formal invites should “refrain from coming to the venue”.

“About 4000 plus invites have been issued to officials, diplomats, members of public, media etc,” it added.

Ceremonial drills, it said, have also factored in due social distancing norms as well as other precautionary measures.

The ministry said, “Adequate medical booths at four locations, one near the Rampart, one in Madhavdas Park and two in 15 August Park have been set up to cater to any attendee who is detected having any symptoms related to COVID-19 during entry.”

Ambulances would also be stationed at these four locations, it added.

India’s COVID-19 caseload surpassed 24 lakh on Friday after 64,553 more people tested positive and the recoveries rose to over 17 lakh, the Health Ministry said.

With 17,51,555 people defeating the disease, the recovery rate has surged to 71.17%.

Independence day speech

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will deliver his seventh straight Independence Day speech from the ramparts of the Red Fort — an address that comes amid the coronavirus pandemic, a border standoff with China and a slew of reforms by the government under the Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative.

All eyes will be on what Mr. Modi says as his August 15 addresses have often been marked by big announcements, his government’s achievements and bringing to people’s attention what he believes to be the major challenges facing the country.

Fresh from his re-election with a thumping mandate, Mr. Modi, in his Independence Day speech last year, had highlighted his government’s move to bring in the law against triple talaq and to abrogate Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir.

He had also underlined the need for population control and the country’s vision to achieve a USD 5 trillion economy.

The government’s efforts to deal with COVID-19 are likely to be in focus when Mr. Modi addresses the nation on its 74th Independence Day.

The Modi 2.0 government is now into its second year and is in the midst of carrying out wide-ranging economic reforms to boost the economy which has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Centre has asserted that despite the rise in total number of cases, India’s response to the pandemic is marked by a high recovery rate and low fatality rate, putting it in a much better position than other countries.

His address also comes days after Mr. Modi on August 5 performed the ‘bhoomi pujan’ of a Supreme Court-mandated Ram temple in Ayodhya, bringing to fruition the BJP’s ‘mandir movement’ that defined its politics for three decades and took it to the heights of power.

It also comes amid the border standoff between Indian and Chinese troops in the eastern Ladakh. India and China have been holding diplomatic and military talks on disengagement of troops from all the friction points in eastern Ladakh.

There is also anticipation of more reform measures with the government having already announced measures in various sectors, including agriculture and defence, to realise the goals of Atmanirbhar Bharat (self-reliant India).

Political watchers believe that Mr. Modi may also touch upon his government’s initiatives for Jammu and Kashmir.

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Printable version | Sep 27, 2020 3:04:42 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/independence-day-celebrations-over-4000-invited-for-red-fort-event-says-defence-ministry/article32354716.ece

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