Covid scare limits R-Day guests to 8000

Covid scare limits R-Day guests to 8000

Covid scare limits R-Day guests to 8000

Covid scare limits R-Day guests to 8000

New Delhi, Jan.18 (Delhi Crown): A daily count of over two lakh Covid cases forced the government on Tuesday to announce that physical attendance at this year’s Republic Day celebrations will be limited to between 5,000 and 8,000 guests.

Till last week the Ministry of Defence, which oversees this annual event, was willing to allow around 24,000 people to attend, but with Covid cases rising and the country in the grip of a third wave, officials said they had to reduce the spectator count at India’s biggest defence and cultural-centric ceremonial event.

Event organisers have listed a series of Do’s and Don’ts that include entry to the parade venue for double vaccinated adults and single vaccinated children of age 15 and above only. Wearing masks has been made mandatory. Attendees will be subjected to thermal screening and hand sanitisation as well. Medical help will also be available.

Invitees will have to maintain a distance of at least six feet when entering and exiting, and when they are seated.

The parade will begin at 10.30 a.m., instead of 10 a.m., to ensure better visibility and a clear path for the spectacular Indian Air Force fly past, consisting of 75 aircraft to mark India’s 75th year of Independence.

This year’s flying formations will commemorate India’s victory over Pakistan in the 1971 war, including the historic Tangail airdrop and the Meghna heli-borne operation. Ten large LED screens, five on either side of Rajpath, the parade venue, will be installed for a better viewing experience.

As January 23, marks the 125th birth anniversary of iconic freedom fighter “Netaji” Subhas Chandra Bose, this year’s Republic Day celebrations will begin on January 23, instead of January 24, and will culminate on January 30, Mahatma Gandhi’s 74th death anniversary.

On January 26, the National Cadet Corps (NCC) will launch a “Shaheedon ko Shat Shat Naman” programme to honour the country’s fallen heroes. The next of kin of around 5,000 fallen heroes will be presented ‘plaques of gratitude’ by NCC cadets. Each plaque will have the Prime Minister’s signature.

The government intends to honour 26,466 fallen heroes overall this year whose names are inscribed on the walls of the National War Memorial.

Invitation cards for the parade will be embedded with seeds of medicinal plants such as Ashwagandha, Aloe Vera and Amla for people to plant them later. At least 600 dancers will take part in the cultural segment of the parade. Tableaux from twelve states and Union Territories — Arunachal Pradesh, Haryana, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Gujarat, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Meghalaya, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand – and nine central government ministries have been selected for this segment.

In a first, the government has also reserved seats for auto-rickshaw drivers, construction workers, safai workers and frontline health workers – people who rarely get an opportunity to witness the parade or the ‘Beating Retreat’ ceremony.

This year’s parade may again not have a chief guest because of the pandemic, but a final decision on this is yet to be taken by the Ministry of External Affairs. Earlier it was mentioned that the presidents of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan would be this year’s chief guests.

Last year, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was invited, but had to cancel due to the rise of Covid-19 cases in his country. It was the first time in 55 years that the Republic Day parade did not have a foreign dignitary as a chief guest.

Last year’s parade was attended by around 25,000 people. Before the pandemic, around 125,000 people used to attend the event.

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