R-Day security: 71 high-rise buildings in the vicinity of Rajpath to be shut down

New Delhi :As many as 71 high-rise buildings in the vicinity of Rajpath will be shut down either partially or completely on or before January 25 in view of Republic Day celebrations where French President Francois Hollande will be the chief guest.

A senior police officer said they will partially or completely shut down 71 high-rise buildings in the vicinity of Rajpath on or before January 25.

“The same number of buildings were shut down partially or completely before last year’s Republic Day celebrations too, in which US President Barack Obama was the chief guest. But in 2014, we had to shut around 45 of them,” said the officer.

The decision to increase the number of buildings to be sanitised was taken in view of security reasons and because threat perception is high this year, especially after the terror strike in Paris, the officer said.

It is not that Rajpath is visible from the floors or rooftops of all the 71 buildings but they are considered potential spots for launching projectiles, the officer said.

Police will take over these buildings and sanitise every nook and corner manually, following which snipers will be positioned on the rooftops.

“We are taking over these buildings at least a day before because we need daylight to check them. It is a tedious process because checking each building may take anywhere between four to six hours. Every room, even washrooms are checked for objects raising suspicion. Once checked the rooms are sealed,” the officer added.

Police in the national capital and neighbouring states will also keep a vigilant eye on “drones”, which have been perceived as a major threat to security, especially in view of the Republic Day celebrations.

“The subject of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), commonly referred to as drones, was taken up as a priority in the latest Inter-State Coordination Meeting, held last week.

“Delhi Police Chief (B S Bassi) has asked his force and police departments of the neighbouring states to keep a vigilant eye on drones, as they have been perceived as a major threat to security, especially in view of Republic Day,” a senior police official said.

The matter attained priority after a UAV was spotted near IGI Airport here around three months ago but its source or handler could not be tracked by the police, following which Delhi Police announced a reward of Rs 1 lakh last month for any information about it.

The Inter-State Coordination Meeting, chaired by Bassi, was attended by the top brass of police departments in Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand, the official added.