Delhi turns into fortress for R-Day with 50,000 securitymen

New Delhi, Jan 24 (IANS) Keeping in mind the Pathankot airbase attack and the arrest of a dozen terror suspects, 1,000 snipers along with 49,000 security personnel under the close watch of 15,000 CCTV cameras will guard the capital on the Republic Day to ensure a safe visit of the chief guest, French President Francois Hollande.

The National Security Guard snipers will maintain hawk-eye vigil from high-rise buildings within a two-km radius of Rajpath, the spacious central vista of the capital from where the French president along with President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be watching the parade.

Hollande will be the fifth French president to be the chief guest at the Republic Day celebrations in New Delhi over the decades.

Police said the 49,000 security personnel — around 15,000 from the paramilitary forces and 34,000 from Delhi Police — will be deployed on the streets of the capital starting at 5 a.m. on January 26.

Sources said the central, north and New Delhi districts will be manned by over 20,000 security personnel.

Around 20,000 personnel have already been deployed at specific locations from Sunday to provide impenetrable security to the French president, who arrived here on a three-day official visit.

Around 15,000 newly-installed CCTV cameras will be used to keep watch over the parade route starting from Vijay Chowk at the foot of the Raisina Hill, atop which the Central Secretariat complex sits, to the 17th century Red Fort through Rajpath, India Gate, Tilak Marg, Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg and Netaji Subhash Marg.

The parade will start at 9.50 a.m. and last till 12.30 p.m. on January 26.

Rajpath, the three-km stretch which is the main venue of the parade, has nearly 160 CCTV cameras. One camera has been installed every 18 metres.

Officials said that as part of heightened security arrangements, the city will be declared a no-fly zone, covering a radius of nearly 300 km, for civilian aircraft during the parade.

A seven-layer security ring will guard the enclosure that would be used by Hollande, Mukherjee and Modi.

India Gate and Rajpath have already been shut to people and the area is under constant guard by security personnel.

The airspace over the capital will be monitored by special radars, the officials added.

Vehicle movement from Vijay Chowk to India Gate on Rajpath will be restricted from 3 p.m. on Monday till the parade is over on Tuesday (January 26) afternoon.

Traffic on some major arterial roads in New Delhi like Rafi Marg, Janpath, Man Singh Road will be stopped from 11 p.m. on Monday till the end of the parade.

Vehicles, barring those with control and duty lables, will not be permitted to ply in some other New Delhi area, including South Avenue, Thyag Raj Marg, K. Kamraj Marg, Sunheri Masjid, Maulana Azad Road, Akbar Road between Man Singh Road and C-Hexagon, Dr. Rajendra Prasad Road, Red Cross Road, Sansad Marg, Imtiaz Khan Road, Rakab Ganj Road, Pt. Pant Marg and Church Road.

Only labelled vehicles of the invitees and vehicles of bona-fide residents of the restricted area shall be permitted to enter.

Delhi Metro rail service will remain available for commuters at all stations during the parade.

The entry and exit at Patel Chowk and Race Course stations, however, will remain closed from 8.45 a.m. to 12.30 p.m., and the Central Secretariat station will only be used for interchange of passengers.

Entry and exit at the Central Secretariat and Udyog Bhawan stations will remain closed from 6 a.m. to 12 p.m. on January 26, officials said.

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