With corporate help, state to make national days exciting for public

To increase public participation, the state government has decided to make national day celebrations more attractive and is trying to rope in corporates. If all goes well, Mumbaikars can look forward to New York-like festivities with fireworks and bands on Independence and Republic days.

The government is fine-tuning a plan with the help of top corporate houses for initiatives such as throwing open local gardens to communities to hoist the national flag. Army and Navy bands performing for the public, floral decorations of pavements and roundabouts, use of sea link or Air India Building for light and sound shows are some of the other possibilities.

On Monday evening, Tata, Reliance, HDFC and Mahindra and Mahindra representatives met senior government officials for a discussion.

The companies put forward plans to take physically challenged children to movies and fireworks displays on national days. They also proposed yachts painted in tricolour at Gateway of India.

Chief secretary K J Banthia, who chaired the meeting, said the idea was to make citizens participate. "Corporate groups can fund activities like light and sound shows, decorations and celebrations in gardens," he said.

There are also plans to organise fireworks at Bandra, Worli, Marine Drive and Juhu Beach.

A similar plan was drafted for Independence Day celebrations, but was cancelled due to the death of former chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh.

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