Preparations under way in New Delhi's India Gate ahead of the 74th Independence Day celebrations | Photo: Suraj Singh Bisht
Preparations underway at New Delhi's India Gate ahead of the 74th Independence Day celebrations | Photo: Suraj Singh Bisht
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New Delhi: From quarantining the Guard of Honour contingent for seven days, ensuring social distancing between guests to replacing schoolchildren with NCC cadets — the defence ministry has put in a number of measures for the 74th Independence Day celebrations to be held at the Red Fort in New Delhi Saturday.

The celebration is the first national event being organised by the Modi government since the Covid-19 pandemic struck; over 4,000 people are expected to attend.

According to tradition, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inspect a Guard of Honour. Media reports said 350 Delhi Police personnel will be part of the Guard of Honour and have already been quarantined ahead of the ceremony.

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Strict social distancing between guests

A defence ministry statement said there will be a six-feet seating distance between guests. Participation is only through formal invites and over 4,000 invites have been issued to officials, diplomats, members of the public and the media among others.

Ceremonial drills have also factored in social distancing norms as well as other precautionary measures, the statement said, adding that medical booths have been set up at four locations to cater to any attendee who shows symptoms related to Covid-19 during entry.

Ambulances will also be stationed at these four locations.

The statement added that thorough sanitisation of the Red Fort premises, both inside and outside, is being carried out on a regular basis.

NCC cadets to replace school children

The defence ministry statement mentioned that NCC cadets have been invited to witness the event, as against the tradition of schoolchildren viewing it. The cadets will be seated at Gyan Path.

“In order to sensitise invitees towards Covid-related safety measures, specific advisory for following the Covid related guidelines has been issued along with each invitation card,” it mentioned.

The statement further said a request card for the invitee to exhibit restraint and patience during dispersal after conclusion of the function would be placed on each seat in this regard and announcements in this connection will be made from the commentary booth from time to time.

“Traffic Police advisory will also contain a note on the matter,” it added. “An orderly dispersal plan has been put in place for implementation through the controlling officials in various enclosures. In this regard, cooperation of all invitees will be earnestly and consistently requested.”

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