The Covid-19 pandemic has been the biggest spoiler of the year, affecting economies, crores of industries and businesses along with dampening spirits. The crisis is likely to affect this year’s Independence Day celebrations as well. The ramparts of the Red Fort will not be the same as on August 15 every year.

The government has made many amends to this year’s celebrations and plans to make arrangements keeping preventive measures in mind in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. The number of guests attending the ceremony will be limited this year while children, who are the centre of attraction of Independence Day celebrations every year, will also be absent.

Many agencies are involved in the preparation of the Independence Day event at Red Fort, including the Archaeological Survey of India, Jal Board, Municipal Corporation, Public Works Department (PWD), Delhi Police, among others.

As per a report by HT’s Hindi language publication Live Hindustan, the following are some of the measures taken to ensure that this year’s Independence Day celebrations take place keeping the coronavirus situation in mind.

Social distancing will be the most important aspect kept in mind while organising the event. A minimum distance of six-feet will be kept while making seating arrangements for the guests.

The guests will not be seated where the Tricolor flag is hoisted from the ramparts of the Red Fort. Arrangements are being made for guests to sit at the lower level of the ramparts with limited seats. It is likely that the authorities give a miss to children’s participation during this year’s Independence Day celebrations in the national capital.

Nation’s ‘corona warriors’, from healthcare professionals like nurses, doctors, paramedical staff to policemen, among others, are likely to be invited to the Red Fort ceremony in limited numbers.

Apart from this, the guests may also be able to watch the ceremony on an LED screen.

This year’s Independence Day celebrations in the national capital shall consist of the ceremony at the Red Fort which will include the presentation of a Guard of Honour by the Armed Forces and the Delhi Police to the Prime Minister, unfurling of the National Flag accompanied by playing of the National Anthem and firing of 21-gun salute. The prime minister’s speech shall be followed by the singing of the National Anthem and the release of tricoloured balloons at the end. “At Home” reception at Rashtrapati Bhawan will take place.

In an advisory issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs last week, the government pressed for the use of technology “in the best possible manner” for Independence Day events across the country.

The government has strictly directed to avoid large gatherings and congregation of people in large numbers.

“The events organized could be web-cast in order to reach out people at large, who are not able to participate,” the release issued by Ministry of Home Affairs stated.

“Performance of Police/Military bands may be recorded at places of historic importance associated with the Independence movement; and recorded versions thereof may be displayed through large screens/digital media, during public functions and on social media,” the release noted.

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