Independence Day 2020: Colourful celebrations in Maharashtra amid COVID-19 precautions
Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray hoisted the national flag at his official residence 'Varsha' and later at Mantralaya and the Bombay High Court in the presence of a large number of dignitaries
Maharashtra on Saturday witnessed solemn but colourful celebrations of the country's 74th Independence Day, at the official, political and mass levels with 'social distancing' amid the COVID-19 pandemic, officials said.
The state's official function was held at the Council Hall in Pune where Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari hoisted the National Tricolour in the presence of top dignitaries and officials including Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, who is Guardian Minister of Pune.
Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray hoisted the national flag at his official residence 'Varsha' and later at Mantralaya and the Bombay High Court in the presence of a large number of dignitaries.
Addressing the state on the occasion, Thackeray said the country is now fighting another war for freedom from the grip of the Corona pandemic.
"The Covid-19 has limited our boundaries of personal freedom, but we have to conquer it unitedly with weapons like self-discipline, cleanliness, hygiene and wearing masks...Only then can we achieve independence from the coronavirus," Thackeray urged.
The Chief Minister lauded the efforts of all the Corona warriors like doctors, nurses, police, conservancy staffers, who are working all out, without fear, in the pandemic at great risks to themselves.
"On this auspicious occasion, I bow before them. I pay my respects to all the soldiers who fought for India's Independence from the British, the jawans who safeguard our borders," Thackeray said.
Mumbai Mayor Kishori Pednekar hoisted the flag at the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation headquarters in the presence of BMC Commissioner I.S. Chahal and other top civic dignitaries.
Nationalist Congress Party leader Praful Patel and MP Supriya Sule hoisted the national flag at the party state and city headquarters.
State Congress President and Revenue Minister Balasaheb Thorat hoisted the national tricolor at Sangamner in Ahmednagar and celebrated the I-Day among the local tribals.
Central Railway General Manager Sanjeev Mittal did the I-Day honours at the iconic Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus, Konkan Railway Chairman Sanjay Gupta hoisted the tricolor at the Konkan Rail Vihar in Navi Mumbai and Western Railway General Manager Alok Kansal hoisted the national flag at the Churchgate headquarters.
The Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust Chairman Sanjay Sethi hoisted the national flag and paid tributes to the Corona warriors.
Similar functions were held at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport, the army, navy and air force stations in Mumbai and other parts of the state, district collectorates, at prominent central and state government institutions, private companies, villages, social and cultural organisations.
This year, in view of the Coronavirus pandemic, there were no functions at schools, colleges or universities as in the past to avoid crowds and most families preferred to catch the celebrations on television or participated via social media.
However, thousands of housing societies and residential complexes in Mumbai, Thane, Pune, Aurangabad, Nashik, Nagpur held their own token I-Day flag hoisting events maintaining strict 'physical distancing' norms in view of the pandemic restrictions.
Thousands of small street-vendors who usually sell mini tricolours made of paper or cloth, India map cutouts, badges, tie-pins, balloons, stickers, mementos, tiny statuettes and other popular I-Day paraphernalia were badly hit and disappointed as there were no buyers for their usually fast-moving stuff this year.
Prominent public buildings like the BMC Headquarters, the Siddhivinayak Temple, some government offices, etc, were lit up in the colours of the national flag to mark the occasion.
The Maharashtra Police have deployed stringent security measures across the state to ensure an incident-free I-Day especially in the Maoist-infested districts of eastern Maharashtra like Gadchiroli.
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