NEARLY four months after it got stuck halfway and had to be brought down, the largest Tricolour rose again on the tallest flagpole over the Pahari Mandir in Ranchi to mark Independence Day on Monday — at double the original weight, with fabric sourced from Sharjah and motorised systems for support.
The 99-ft x 66-ft flag, now weighing 135 kg, was hoisted for the first time on the 293-ft pole on January 23 by Defence Minister Manohar Parikkar before getting torn and stuck virtually at half-mast on April 17 — it was brought down 10 days later.
Ranchi Deputy Commissioner Manoj Kumar, ex-officio chairman of the Pahari Mandir Samiti, hoisted the flag again today, amid a heavy rush of devotees on the last Monday of what is considered by Hindus as the auspicious month of Shravan.
Mukesh Agarwal, samiti spokesperson, said: “We worked very hard to get the flag hoisted again on Independence Day. We have tried to sort out all issues that came to light after the flag got stuck. We will leave no stone unturned in ensuring that the flag keeps flying high with pride.”
Amit Kumar, officer on special duty, Pahari Mandir Samiti, said: “The day it got stuck, we had decided that the flag would have to be put back up on Independence Day. There was no pressure as such, but we kept working on it.”
The task was given to a technical team led by J K Jha of Mecon India Ltd, the project management consultant, which went to work on the pulleys, motors and “guides” for ropes, and made other technical changes.
“Our team got a new pulley installed at the top. It is linked to a motor. Another motor has been installed at the base of the flag pole. The two motors will work in sync to take the flag up and bring it down. We have done away with the manual winch installed earlier,” said Agarwal.
“The flag got stuck when the wire jumped from the pulley system. Now, we have provided what can be called guides for ropes, both at the top and at the base. These will ensure that the rope does not jump from the pulley. Further, they have been re-inforced with a coating of stainless steel to reduce wear and tear,” said a member of the technical team, who did not wish to be identified.
He added that a motorised trolley, with the capacity to carry two men up the post, will soon be installed. “When the flag got stuck, we had to set up scaffoldings for 4-5 days to be able to send our men up to retrieve it. Once the motorised trolley is installed, we can reach that point in a short time, if needed,” he said. The technical team has also got two parallel steel wire ropes integrated with the main rope, to be used if the one holding the flag gives way.
The other major issue — of the flag getting torn often due to wind pressure — has been addressed by sourcing stronger fabric from a company in Sharjah, UAE.
“We came to know about big flags being supplied by that company. We got in touch with the Ministry of External Affairs and requested them to help us get in touch with the company. The Sharjah firm agreed to provide us the flag at a cost of $4,100, which is a few hundred dollars less than the market cost,” said a senior member of the flag team, adding that the money was paid by the samiti.
Samiti members said the new fabric is made of triple-layer yarn. “The earlier one was made of double-layer yarn and weighed 65 kg. There is no issue with the increased weight, as the flag post was built to withstand much heavier weights. The dimensions of the flag have remained unchanged,” said a samiti member.
Sources added that work was now going on to improve the lighting around the flag. “We hope that this flag will last longer, although wear and tear in such flags is normal. All the foreseeable problems have been looked into. But you can never be too sure in mechanical issues,” said Agarwal.