Republic Day celebration in India on January 26 will be an extraordinary event this year with 10 ASEAN leaders occupying the chairs for Chief Guests to witness the parade on Rajpath in Delhi.
With security task in the hands of the Ministry of Defence, thousands of policemen and security officials have been deployed around the venue with strict restrictions coming into force for visitors before joining the ceremony in New Delhi.
Sena Bhawan, Vayu Bhawan, Kashmir House, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) buildings in the south block E, G, H and J Blocks, A&B Blocks and L&M Blocks will be closed from January 22, 5:30 pm to January 23, 1:00 pm. No visitors, including foreigners, will be allowed to enter in these high-security buildings till January 23, said a statement.
The defence ministry has also restricted the entry of workers issuing them tokens for undertaking any kind of work, whether renovation, maintenance or construction from January 23 to 24. On Thursday, January 25, offices in the restricted areas will be vacated at around 12:00 pm, as security agencies will inspect these buildings ahead of the Republic day celebration the next day.
Reception office at gate No. 9, South Block, Gate No. 6 Vayu Bhawan and Gate No. 1 of DRDO Bhawan will be open only for personnel with special entry permits on January 26, from 12:05 am to 1:00 pm. On January 27 and 28, these buildings will be vacated by 4:00 pm owing to the full dress rehearsal of beating retreat ceremony.
Only security personnel at the rooftop, people assigned for telephone exchange duties, hoisting and lowering the national flag, switching on and off lights, operations rooms INCP, Vayu Bhawan, MO Dte and DNO can receive permission for special entry to the restricted offices by January 19, it said.
The gate No. 2 of South Block will be closed at 1:00 pm on January 16, 17, 19 and 22, and reopened after the rehearsal for the occasion, which will take place between the south block and the north block and no movement of pedestrian traffic will be allowed in the rehearsal area.
All gates of the north block and south block facing Rajpat will be closed on January 29, Monday at 1:00 pm and reopened once the ceremony is over, said the ministry note.
The ministry has also released other security precautions -- areas outside DRDO Bhawan, Sena Bhawan, Vayu Bhawan and South Block are designated as "no parking zones" for the days of rehearsal.
None of the officials, working in South Block, should be visible on ramparts towards Vijay Chowk; they are restricted to appear on the balcony of these buildings during rehearsals as well.
Due to elaborate lighting on the occasion of Republic Day, there will be a probability of short circuit and fire hazards. So, to avoid such a situation, the ministry has asked all SFOs and ASFO to go for physical inspection of firefighting equipment in required areas. Additionally, fire alarm systems are being installed in those areas by January 20.
The security office has also ordered to disconnect regulators of LPG and remove gas cylinders from the premises. They will ensure that no inflammable material is present on the rooftop of the buildings around Vijay Chowk.