Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee unfurled the tri-colour and oversaw a colourful parade here on Tuesday as West Bengal joined the nation in celebrating the 71st Independence Day.
The main function at the arterial Indira Gandhi Sarani (erstwhile Red Road) was attended by Banerjee, Ministers and members of the diplomatic corps.
Banerjee hoisted the national flag and inspected a guard of honour given by the state and city police.
Various wings of the police and NCC cadets then participated in a parade as a helicopter showered petals.
Folk dance troupes from different districts, including Cooch Bengar, South 24 Parganas and Birbhum depicted the diverse culture of the country with colourful performances.
A dance troupe from Cooch Behar performed the traditional Bairati dance while a group from South 24 Pargana district’s Sundarbans region depicted the life of fishermen and the local custom of worshiping the ‘Bonbibi’, the guardian spirit of the forests venerated by both the Hindu and the Muslim residents.
The folk dancer of Birbhum graced the occasion by performing Chhau dance, a folk dance form that is acclaimed internationally.
Government departments, including Information and Cultural Affairs as also Forests, brought out colourful tableaux highlighting their achievements and important social issues.
There were tableaux depicting the state’s rich cultural heritage and various schemes undertaken by the government, central among them being Banerjee’s pet project Kanyashree aimed at checking child marriage in Bengal.
Another tableau that caught the eye was of the upcoming FIFA Under-17 World Cup starting on October 6.
As many as 52 budding footballers from the state displayed soccer skills under the guidance of former international player Manas Bhattacharya.
Banerjee awarded the Chief Minister’s Police medal for outstanding service to ADG & IGP-CID Dr Rajesh Kumar, Bidhanngar CP Gyanwant Singh and Kolkata Police Additional CP III Supratim Sarkar, and other officers.
After the Trinamool came to power in 2011, Banerjee started the ritual of the Independence Day parade at the Indira Gandhi Sarani.
The Independence Day was celebrated with equal vigour and enthusiasm in schools, colleges and government institutions across the state.
The south Bengal frontier of the Border Security Force (BSF) celebrated the day at their frontier headquarter in Lord Sinha Road here.
Inspector General of south Bengal frontier, P.S.R. Anjaneyulu unfurled the national flag while a special guard of BSF troopers gave the national salute to the tricolour and sang the national anthem.
Taking oath to secure the border areas of the country, the frontier also organised the Independence Day celebrations at various BSF establishments including the International Check post (ICP) of Petrapole at the India-Bangladesh border where a large number of people from both sides gathered to witness the ceremony.
The BSF troopers also handed over fruits and sweets to border guards of Bangladesh as a gesture of mutual respect.