Braving chill, people celebrate R-Day in Himachal

Shimla, Jan 26 (IANS) Braving sub-zero temperatures at most places, people across Himachal Pradesh Saturday celebrated the Republic Day with enthusiasm.

Governor Urmila Singh unfurled the national flag at the state-level function at the historic Ridge here, where Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, his cabinet colleagues and senior officials were present.

The governor took salute at a parade by contingents of police, the Indo-Tibetan Border Police, Home Guards, the army, NCC and ex-servicemen.

Government departments exhibited colourful tableaux.

In snow-bound Keylong, headquarters of Lahaul and Spiti, Deputy Commissioner S.S. Guleria presided over the official function. The minimum temperature of the town was 15.1 degrees below the freezing point.

Chief Parliamentary Secretary Neeraj Bharti presided over the function at Rekong Peo in Kinnaur district where the night temperature was minus 8.8 degrees.

In both Keylong and Rekong Peo towns, snowfall has snapped major road links.

Despite the chill, people in both towns took part in the flag hoisting ceremonies. Cultural programmes were staged by schoolchildren.

Opposition leader Prem Kumar Dhumal was conspicuously absent at the function here.

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