SILCHAR: Independence Day celebrations are expected to be a low-key affair this time around because of the COVID-19 pandemic situation in South Assam's Cachar district.
Official sources said fewer people are likely to attend the annual August 15 event at Silchar town while schoolchildren will skip it altogether, people privy with the development said on Saturday.
Schoolchildren who have been traditionally an intrinsic part of the Independence Day celebrations will be missing this time because of COVID-19 situation, said an official.
"Given the rising number of COVID-19 positive cases in the district, social distancing norms have to be strictly adhered to," said another official. While schoolchildren will not attend the celebrations, cadets from the National Cadet Corps, state police and security personnel are expected to be a part of the parade.
Fewer dignitaries will attend the event because of the social distancing norms. Only 150 to 200 of them will be seated in the VIP enclosure compared to almost 300-400 in previous years.
At a meeting convened by the district administration to discuss the COVID-19 situation with people's representatives and senior citizens on Thursday, the administration put before some proposals to cut to a bare minimum the number of invitees and participants in the forthcoming Independence Day function and to cancel some events in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.
With the go ahead from Deputy Commissioner, Keerthi Jalli, Additional Deputy Commissioner Rajib Roy placed before the elite gathering what the administration is mulling with the final guidelines from the state government being awaited to celebrate the Independence Day on a smaller scale but in a solemn way befitting the momentous occasion.
Roy said considering the vulnerability of senior citizens and freedom fighters to the COVID-19 disease, the administration is contemplating not to invite them this time; not to hold cultural events; debar children from attending the event; not to distribute fruits to jail inmates and orphanage homes; not to hold the friendly football match and boat race, and also high tea. The people's representatives and senior citizens spoke in one voice that the administration must initiate steps as it deems fit and proper in view of the current situation. Some even suggested that the freedom fighters be accorded felicitation at their home.
It is against this backdrop, given the surge in COVID-19 positive cases, Cachar district is heading towards celebration of the ensuing Independence Day in a muted but solemn manner.
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