The country’s tallest Tricolour, flying at 355 feet from the ground at Attari near the border with Pakistan, has run into rough weather. Costing Rs 1 lakh a piece, the 120 ft-by-80 ft flag — weighing 125 kg and including a 5-ft base — has been replaced twice since it was hoisted for the first time on March 5 after its fabric was damaged by strong winds.
With only 12 standby flags available with the Amritsar Improvement Trust, which is in charge of the installation, among the solutions being discussed are hoisting the flag only on special occasions or using parachute fabric entirely that costs nearly Rs 4 lakh and comes with a three-month guarantee. The current flag has parachute material stitched to the cloth at vulnerable areas, on the outer sides.
Officials said that the next step would be discussed soon by a committee recently formed by the Punjab government for the maintenance of the flag, and comprising officials of the Trust and district administration.
“If we have to replace five flags in a month, it would translate into 60 flags a year. This would mean that more than Rs 60 lakh would be required annually to keep the flag hoisted. I have proposed that the flag be hoisted on special occasions like Independence Day, Republic Day and festivals like Holi and Diwali. The issue will be discussed during the meeting of the newly formed committee,” Rajeev Sekhri, superintending engineer, Amritsar Improvement Trust, told The Indian Express.
“Since this is the tallest flying Tricolour, there was no study conducted on how it would withstand the weather at such a height. We are now planning to try a flag made fully of parachute material. We have had discussions with a manufacturer already. A flag made fully of parachute fabric will cost nearly Rs 4 lakh… it comes with a guarantee of merely three months. But still, it is worth a try,” said Kamal Kohli, whose Hoshiarpur-based firm Bharat Electricals set up the infrastructure for the Tricolour.
The flag is illuminated by LED lights from three poles, each 65-ft high; and, the entire project has cost the state government about Rs 3.5 crore, so far.