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The journey ends, not the road
Rally flag-down at Sarusajai today

Dec. 16: An adrenaline pumping show by skydivers, a rifle drill by 40 Assam Police woman commandos and a musical treat by the Shillong Chamber Choir are among the events lined up to bid a memorable adieu to participants of the Asean-India car rally here tomorrow.

Having reached their final destination today, the cavalcade of 31 cars was welcomed at Khanapara around 3.45pm by a cheering crowd, which escorted the vehicles to the Sarusajai sports complex via Ganeshguri, Dispur Last Gate, Beltola and NH 37. The people also waved flags of the 11 Asean countries.

Assam sports and youth welfare minister Ajit Singh received the rally participants inside the stadium.

“It is good to see people from Southeast Asian countries congregating in our city and brainstorming on how to improve mutual relations and trade ties. Guwahati is expanding fast and we can hope that our city will become the centre of India’s business with Asean countries,” said Roshan Rehman, a city resident, as he waited by GS Road to get a glimpse of the rally.

The Sarusajai sports complex, which hosted the 2007 National Games and some big sporting events, is decked up for the flag-down ceremony, which will begin around 11.30am tomorrow.

Many visited the stadium this evening to welcome the participants and to witness the rehearsals for the cultural items lined up for tomorrow’s event. The city has been given a fresh coat of paint and additional policemen have been deployed for smooth conduct of the programme.

According to official programme schedule, the flag down ceremony will begin at 11.30am with a 10-minute display of skills by skydivers, who will jump off helicopters and touch down in the stadium. A team of Assam Police personnel will showcase their motorcycle riding skills, following which an army pipe band will present the full regalia for the rally participants as well as visitors.

Personnel of the newly formed woman commando unit of Assam Police — Veerangana — will also display their skills with rifles.

At 12.15pm, traditional dhulias (drummers), Bihu dancers and gayan bayan will welcome the rally participants.

Chief minister Tarun Gogoi and others dignitaries will formally welcome the participants to the city and ceremonially flag down the rally that traversed 8,000km through nine countries before reaching Guwahati.

A hundred dancers, choreographed by Pankaj Ingty, will perform to traditional Assamese tunes by Bhupen Hazarika, Kamrupiya, Tiwa, Bodo and Karbi music and Bihu tunes.

Union minister of state for commerce and industry D. Purandeswari will release a souvenir followed by a performance by the Shillong Chamber Choir.

Around 700 schoolchildren along with 120 other dancers in traditional attires will present dances of the Northeast as well as Asean countries, while 50 bamboo dancers will display their skills to beats composed by Neil Nongkynrih of Shillong.