Heavily fortified Delhi gears up for Republic Day

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

NEW DELHI - Delhi is under hawk-eye vigil as the nation celebrates its 62nd Republic Day Wednesday, with thousands of gun-totting armed personnel keeping tight vigil across the city and unmanned aerial vehicles patrolling the sky.

Snipers will be deployed at high-rise buildings, while around 100 close-circuit televisions (CCTVs) will watch people’s movement between Rajpath and the Red Fort, the route of the parade that showcases India’s military might and cultural diversity, officials said.

The Indian Air Force has already put on alert its air defence units all across the capital. It will also have a couple of unmanned aerial vehicles monitoring the parade.

Mobile hit teams, anti-aircraft guns and sharpshooters of the National Security Guard (NSG) will be deployed at various places while paramilitary and Delhi Police commandos will keep a close watch along the route of the parade.

“All security arrangements are in place. More than 150 companies (15,000 personnel) from paramilitary and other state forces will be deployed besides the Delhi Police. Another 1,500 traffic policemen will also be on the streets,” Joint Commissioner (Traffic) Satyender Garg said.

Security has also been beefed up at railway stations of the capital. Around 1,300 security personnel have been deployed at the busy New Delhi and Old Delhi railway stations.

“A total of 700 constables and 600 Home Guards, Railway Protection Force personnel, backed up by sniffer dogs and and bomb disposal squads have been deputed. Gadgets like scanners and CCTVs are in place,” Additional Deputy Commissioner (Railways) B.S. Gujjar said.

“The vendors outside the railways stations are being thoroughly briefed about the security measures and have been asked to keep an eye. The parcel and parking lots in the premises will be emptied,” he added.

Security personnel accompanied by bomb squads and sniffer dogs will also be deployed at public places like railway stations, bus stands and important buildings and markets.

Security at the IGI Airport has been strengthened in coordination with the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF).

Around a hundred sniffer dogs would be on duty, said an official.

A multi-layer security ring is already put in place at Rajpath, where President Pratibha Patil will unfurl the national flag and take the salute from the armed forces contingents.

“Special emphasis is being laid on anti-sabotage checks, access control measures and intelligence coordination. The entire route of the parade will be covered by special security and anti-terror arrangements,” said another police official who is part of security arrangements.

Besides the air defence measures, IAF helicopters will hover around Rajpath and all along the route of the parade.

The Republic Day parade will have some major attractions, including the home-made Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), which will be the main theme of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) tableau.

The oldest marcher will be 87-year-old Flying Officer M.M. Shukla, a Second World War veteran who will be leading the ex-Servicemen’s contingent.

There will be tableaux from 23 states and central ministries and departments, as well as cultural presentations by 686 school children.

After a motorcycle display by the army’s Corp of Signals, there will be a grand flypast by the Indian Air Force, which includes Mi-25 attack helicopters, Jaguars, MiG-29s and Sukhoi Su-30 aircraft.

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