On Republic Day last year, the chief guest, US President Barack Obama, and wife Michelle had to use an umbrella to shield themselves from the steady drizzle that lasted through the first half of the parade. To prevent a repeat, the government has decided that the VVIP enclosure at this year’s parade, which seats the President, the Prime Minister, French President Francois Hollande and several other dignitaries, will have a motorised glass roof.
The idea, government sources said, is not just to protect dignitaries from rain but also the cold. “The motorised roof can be rolled off when the Air Force flypast takes place, so that dignitaries have a clear view,” an official involved with the preparations said.
“It was embarrassing to see the Obamas holding umbrellas during the parade. This glass roof will ensure such a thing does not happen again,” a source said.
Public broadcaster Doordarshan, too, is going all out to ensure top-notch coverage of the parade. According to sources, the broadcaster was keen to use drones to cover the parade, but the idea did not find favour with the security establishment and was shot down. DD has now deployed a team of 100-odd personnel and its best equipment to cover the parade.
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“We are deploying 27 high-definition, state-of-the-art cameras at strategic locations. Fifteen of these cameras will be at Rajpath. Two hydraulic cranes – 120 metres and 80 meters high – will be used to broadcast top-angle shots,” Doordarshan’s Additional Director General Mahesh Joshi said.
In a first, Doordarshan will use an overhead camera placed atop the VVIP enclosure to capture a “front row view” of those receiving gallantry awards. Sources said a special security clearance has been taken for using this robotically controlled camera. “This camera will offer people a view of how things look from where the President watches,” an official said.
To enhance the quality of its coverage, DD will deploy dynamic microphones on Rajpath to pick up sounds vehicles, foot movement and orders given by commanding officers.