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Ramakanta Biswas

Bhubaneswar: In the wake of Covid-19 pandemic, the Independence Day will be celebrated across Odisha in a subdued manner this year with no parade or march-past and participation by the general public.

“This year in view of the Covid-19 pandemic in the State, the Odisha government has discouraged large gatherings along with other preventive measures to contain the spread of the disease,” State home department deputy secretary NP Rayguru stated in a letter.

Rayguru, in the communique to the district Collectors and superintendents of police, said changes in the usual schedule are required to be undertaken to ensure maximum safety of guests and participants.

He asked the officials to strictly adhere to certain guidelines while celebrating the occasion as decided during a preparatory meeting chaired by Chief Secretary Asit Tripathy.

As per the decision, the National Flag will be unfurled after 9 am by the chief guest (to be intimated separately by Home department) followed by playing the National Anthem. Only one/two police contingent to participate in the ceremony for offering compliments to the Chief Guest during the celebration.

While there will be no parade or march-past and participation by the general public, only limited number of guests (around 50 to 75) will be invited to the celebration, using e-invites, including 15 to 20 Covid warriors (doctors, health workers, sanitation workers).

“It is imperative that social distancing norms, wearing masks. etc., are to be followed strictly by those attending the function. The venue must be well sanitised and a hand sanitiser be made available at the entrance,” the letter said.

Further it has been directed that tree plantations and online essay/quiz contests may be held to mark the occasion.

Similar guidelines/procedure may also be followed for celebration of the Independence Day at the Block and Panchayat levels, the letter noted.

(Edited By Suryakant Jena)

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