4,000 invitees, safety protocols: All about I-Day event at Red Fort

Instead of young school children, this time, NCC cadets have been invited to witness the I-Day event

Red Fort
Indian national flag flutters atop the historic Red Fort | File Photo: PTI

India is set to celebrate its 74th Independence Day on Saturday (August 15) with a muted ceremony in view of the pandemic situation. The country’s defence ministry on Friday said over 4,000 people, including diplomats, officials and media personnel, have been invited for the ceremony at the Red Fort that is being organised factoring in the COVID-19 protocols.

Here’s how the Independence Day ceremony will be held at Red Fort on Saturday:

  • Seating arrangement for the event has been made under the guiding principle of “do gaz ki doori” (maintaining distance of two yards) between any two guests. The ministry said that the members of the guard of honour have been under quarantine.

  • All invitees have been requested to wear masks. An adequate number of masks are being kept handy for distribution at various points of venue. Hand sanitisers will also be available at pre-defined locations. Display boards have been placed discreetly to attract the attention of invitees.
  • Thermal screening has been planned at all entry points of the venue for the invitees. A thorough sanitisation of the premises inside and outside the Red Fort is being carried out on a regular basis, the ministry said.
  • Instead of young school children, this time, National Cadet Corps (NCC) cadets have been invited to witness the event. They will be seated at Gyanpath.
  • To facilitate seamless movement of people and to avoid crowding, seating enclosures and walkways have been laid with wooden flooring and carpeting, according to the ministry. Additional door frame metal detectors with adequately spaced markings have been provided to avoid queuing and to ensure smooth passage for all the invitees.
  • The ministry said the participation is only through invitation and those who do not have formal invites should “refrain from coming to the venue.”
  • Adequate medical booths have been set up at four locations — one near the Rampart, one in Madhavdas Park, and two in 15 August Park — 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.

Meanwhile, on the eve of the 74th Independence Day, President Ram Nath Kovind approved gallantry awards for defence personnel, including Shaurya Chakra to three from the Army for counter-terrorist operations in Jammu and Kashmir, the defence ministry said on Friday. Besides, one Indian Air Force wing commander was also awarded the Shaurya Chakra.

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In his address to the nation on the I-Day eve, the president appreciated the “super-human efforts” in containing the magnitude of the coronavirus pandemic in the country and said these are “worth emulating” by the wider world. He complimented the COVID warriors and said the nation is indebted to doctors, nurses and other health workers who have been continuously on the forefront of the country’s fight against this virus.

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 earlier in the day. With 17,51,555 people defeating the disease, recovery rate has surged to 71.17 per cent. The caseload increased to 24,61,190, while the death toll climbed to 48,040 with 1,007 people succumbing to the disease in 24 hours, the ministry data updated at 8 am showed.

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