75th anniv of Independence: Mega celebrations to begin at 16 ASI monuments on Friday

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New Delhi, Mar 11 (PTI) The mega celebrations to commemorate the 75th anniversary of India's Independence will begin on March 12 with the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) identifying 16 sites at which programmes will be held across the country, Union Culture Ministry sources told PTI.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will on Friday inaugurate the 'Azadi Ka Amrut Mahotsav' event by flagging off a 241-mile march from Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad to Dandi in Gujarat's Navsari district to mark the day.

Events on Friday will mark the beginning of the celebrations which will go on every week for 75 weeks till August 15, 2022.

'The ASI has identified 16 sites where celebrations will begin tomorrow to mark the 75th anniversary of India's Independence. This will include cultural programmes and different events,' a source said.

The first of the 16 events will begin at Qila Rai Pithora in Delhi which will be attended by Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla and five Union Ministers, including Railway's Piyush Goyal, Tribal Affairs' Renuka Singh Saruta.

Other ministers who will be in attendance include Anurag Singh Thakur, Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance and Minister of State in the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Kiren Rijiju, Minister of State (Independent Charge) of the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports and Minority Affairs, Dr Harsh Vardhan, Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Minister of Science and Technology and Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’, Hon’ble Minister of Education.

The other 15 ASI sites where the celebrations will begin on Friday include the Gwalior Fort in Gwalior, Humayun's Tomb in Delhi, Fatehpur Sikri, Golconda Fort in Hyderabad, Bhubaneswari Temple in Aizawl, Aga Khan Palace Building in Mumbai and Konark Sun Temple in Odisha.

Other sites where functions will be held are Kangra Fort in Himachal Pradesh Residency Building in Lucknow, Jhansi Fort in Jhansi, the ancestral Home of Dr Rajendra Prasad in Patna, Chitradurg Fort in Karnataka, Man Mahal Ghat in Varanasi, Sankaram, Amravati and Deeg Palace in Jaipur.

The government has formed a 259-member national committee, under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to plan and implement the programmes for the 75th year of India's Independence.

The members of the panel include former president Pratibha Patil, Chief Justice of India S A Bobde, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, 28 chief ministers, artistes like Lata Mangeshkar, A R Rahman, Nobel laureate Amartya Sen, senior BJP leader L K Advani, almost all Union ministers and several governors.

Opposition leaders like Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury, NCP leader Sharad Pawar, TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee and former Uttar Pradesh chief ministers Mulayam Singh Yadav and Mayawati are also part of the committee.

The committee held its first meeting on March 8. PTI ASG NSD NSD