India will be witness to yet another year of celebration of its independence. Today is the 74th Independence Day and the countrymen are ready to rejoice to the fullest even in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. Multiple celebrations across the country will be held with social distancing norms, especially at the Red Fort, from where Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the nation.
The Red Fort event
It will be for the seventh time when Modi will address the nation from the ramparts of Red Fort on I-Day celebrations. It will be his second speech of the second term in office. Around 4,000 security personnel will be deployed at the Mughal-era structure. Over 350 Delhi Police personnel, who will be part of the guard of honour, have been quarantined as a precautionary measure. The event will consist of a guard of honour by the armed forces and the Delhi Police to the prime minister, unfurling of the national flag and firing of the 21-gun salute, the prime minister's address, singing of the national anthem immediately after his speech and release of tricoloured balloons.
Security tightened across the country; agencies on high alert
Multi-layered security arrangements have been made and strict vigil at the border areas. Agencies like NSG, SPG, ITBP have been put on high alert. Policemen in civil dress would also be deployed at strategic locations across the national capital with extra focus in and around Red Fort. While over 45,000 security personnel will be guarding the city on Independence Day, more than 2,000 snipers will be deputed at specific locations on high-rises in around 5 km periphery of the Red Fort. At least 20 teams of dog squad of the Crime Branch and several others from every district have been deployed to sniff out any trouble in the capital on Independence Day. Bomb disposal squads have also been put on alert and would be strategically placed in ad around Red Fort.
Routes to avoid on Independence Day: Delhi's Traffic Advisory
- Traffic around Red Fort will remain closed for general traffic from 4 am to 10 am and only labelled vehicles will be permitted.
- Eight roads -- Netaji Subhash Marg, Lothian Road, SP Mukherjee Marg, Chandni Chowk Road, Nishad Raj Marg, Esplanade Road and its Link Road to Netaji Subhash Marg, Ring Road from Rajghat to ISBT and Outer Ring Road from ISBT to IP flyover will be closed for general public from 4 am to 10 am.
- Vehicles without parking labels for the rehearsal and the Independence Day function have been advised to avoid C-Hexagon India Gate, Copernics Marg, Mandi House, Sikandra Road, Tilak Marg, Mathura Road, Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg, Subhash Marg, Jawaharlal Nehru Marg and the Ring Road between Nizammuddin Bridge and ISBT bridge.
- For north-south destinations -- commuters need to take alternative routes from Aurobindo Marg - Safdarjung Road, Connaught Place-Minto Road and Nizamuddin bridge to cross Yamuna --Pushta Road- GT Road.
- For east-west corridor, commuters will need to follow alternative routes from DND-NH24-Vikas Marg, Vikas Marg- DDU Marg, and Boulevard Road-Barfkhana.
- Geeta Colony Bridge will be closed towards Shantivan and vehicles will not be permitted on lower Ring Road from ISBT Kashmere Gate towards Shantivan and from IP flyover towards Rajghat.
- Goods vehicles will prohibited between Nizamuddin bridge and Wazirabad bridge from 12 midnight of August 12 to 11 am on August 13 and the same will be applicable for the Independence Day from 12 midnight of August 14 to 11 am on August 15.
- Inter-state buses will not be allowed between Maharana Pratap ISBT and Sarai Kale Khan ISBT from 12 midnight to 11 am on August 13 and the same will be followed for August 15.
- City buses, including the ones operated by DTC, will not ply on Ring Road from 12 midnight to 11 am on August 13, between ISBT to NH-24/NH T-point on Ring Road and take alternative routes available on the Independence Day as well. These buses may use GT Road, Wazirabad Road and NH-24.
- Routes of buses terminating at Red Fort, Jama Masjid and Delhi main railway station will be curtailed or diverted. Normal bus service will be restored after 10 AM.
- Alternative routes will remain open to railway stations, bus stations and hospitals near the venue of Independence Day function.
- Flying of sub-conventional aerial platforms like para-gliders, para-motors, hang gliders, UAVs, micro light aircraft, remotely piloted aircraft, hot air balloons, small size powered aircraft, quadcopters or para-jumping from aircraft etc. are prohibited over the jurisdiction of National Capital Territory of Delhi up to August 15.
- There will be no movement of trains from 6.45 am to 8.45 am on Independence Day on particular tracks near the Red Fort due to VVIP movement.
- Unscheduled transit flights will not be allowed to land at the Delhi airport for four hours in the morning and three hours in the evening on Independence Day. The Delhi International Airport Ltd said scheduled flights will operate as normal. According to a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM), transit flights cannot land at the Delhi airport between 6 AM and 10 AM as well as between 4 PM and 7 PM on August 15. DIAL said the NOTAM is applicable only for chartered (not-scheduled) flights. It said there will be no impact of the NOTAM on helicopter operations of the Indian Air Force, Border Security Force and the Indian Army. The airport operator added that the state-owned planes and helicopters can fly with the governor or the chief minister.
You can watch Independence Day celebrations Live on India TV Saturday morning onward. Alternatively, India TV will also live stream the event on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter platforms.