GUWAHATI: Due to the ongoing anti-COVID protocols, the State government has imposed many restrictions while celebrating Independence Day, 2020. For instance, there will not be any participation of school and college students, National Cadet Corps (NCC), Scouts & Guides in the ceremonial march past. Besides to avoid public gathering, restrictions have been also imposed on lunch, high-tea or any similar programme as a part of the celebration or as a separate event.
Meanwhile, as the usual venue for such functions in city at Khanapara Veterinary Field is now having a COVID Care Centre. Talking to The Sentinel, the Commissioner & Secretary to the Government of Assam, General Administration (A) Department, Dr M Angamuthu said, "We have finalized the Judges Field to hold the official Independence Day function in Guwahati."
The order from the General Administration (A) Department, however, added, "It would also be appropriate that COVID-19 warriors like doctors, Health and sanitation workers, etc are invited in the ceremony as recognition of their noble service in fight against the pandemic. Some persons cured from COVID-19 pandemic infection may also be invited."
At the State level, a ceremony in the morning (after 9 am) shall be held at the State capital for unfurling of the National Flag by the Chief Minister. The National Anthem shall be played. It shall be followed by the Chief Minister's speech. There shall be Guard of Honour and march-past by personnel of the Assam police, paramilitary forces and Home Guards.
In view of COVID -19 pandemic, large congregation in the ceremony is to be avoided. Invitation for the celebration shall be limited keeping in mind the health protocols issued in relation to the prevalence of COVID-19. The invitation shall not exceed one-third of the seating capacity of the venue.
It is imperative that all health protocols issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare are adhered to. Social distancing norms and wearing of mask shall be strictly followed. Cultural programmes or Sports event shall not be organised as a part of the Official Celebration nor as an exclusive event.
Award Ceremony shall not be conducted as a part of the programme. However, the names of the awardees may be announced at the official function. The awards shall be handed over to the awardees at their respective homes by a representative of the Deputy Commissioner.
Performance of police /military bands may be recorded at places of historic importance associated with Independence movement and recorded versions thereof may be displayed through large screens/digital media, during public functions and on social media.
Other functions of the day may include activities like planting of trees; inter-school/inter-college debates on digital platforms; online quiz contests/patriotic essay writing and poetry competition ; launching of any important scheme, singing patriotic songs/delivering patriotic talks by selected boys/girls on the social media; illumination of government buildings/State Bhawans, etc; thematic webinars ; online campaign by NSS and NYKS centered around patriotic themes. Other innovative ways of celebrating the Independence Day may be considered like propagating patriotic or national integration messages/songs through digital and social media platforms, sound shows/lighting of important public buildings, waving of National Flags by people at roof tops/balconies etc. It would be appropriate that the theme of "Aatmanirbhar Bharat" is suitably spread and published amongst the masses through various activities/messages in the functions and social media during the Independence Day celebration.