Maintaining 'Do Gaz ki Doori' or six feet between any two guests seated during the event at Red Fort here, India will celebrate its 74th Independence Day on Saturday amid the raging coronavirus pandemic.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will arrive at the ramparts of Red Fort at 7.20 a.m. and thereafter will unfurl the national flag. This year, only 110 VVIPs will be present at the event as against 440 in previous years. About 4,000 plus invites have also been issued to officials, diplomats, members of the public, media and others.
The flag hoisting ceremony on August 15 at Red Fort will be done maintaining a balance between sanctity and dignity of the function while factoring in precautions related to COVID-19.
The Defence Ministry has also set up Covid-19 medical booths at four locations, one near the ramparts, one at Madhavdas Park and two at 15 August Park. They will cater to attendees who are detected having any symptoms related to Covid-19 during entry. Ambulances would also be stationed at these four locations.
To facilitate seamless movement with minimal chance of any crowding, seating enclosures and walkways have been laid out with wooden flooring and carpeting.
Additional door frame metal detectors, with adequately spaced markings have been provided to avoid queuing and to ensure smooth passage for all the invitees.
Most of the parking areas have been bricklined and paved in order to ensure smooth entry and exit of vehicles to the maximum feasible extent.
"Members of the Guard of Honour have been under quarantine for safety," said the ministry adding that the guiding principle for seating has been 'Do Gaz ki Doori' or six feet between any two guests seated during the event.
With an eye on safety, NCC cadets have been invited to witness the event instead of young schoolchildren and they will be seated at Gyanpath.
In order to sensitise the invitees towards Covid-related safety measures, specific advisory for following the Covid guidelines has been issued along with each invitation card.
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.
"Announcements in this connection will be made from the commentary booth from time to time," the ministry said.
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.
Ceremonial drills have also been planned due to social distancing norms as well as other precautionary measures.
Thermal screening at all entry points for the invitees has been planned. Thorough sanitisation of the premises inside and outside the Red Fort is being carried out on a regular basis.
All invitees have been requested to wear masks. In addition, an adequate number of suitable masks are being kept handy for distribution at various points at the venue.
Similarly, availability of hand sanitisers at predefined locations has been arranged with display boards placed discreetly to attract the attention of invitees.
Floral arrangements at Gyanpath behind the NCC cadets have been made in order to enhance the visual appeal of the area.