Inside a textile factory in Pandesara area of Surat, a roll of white fabric (called grey fabric) flows onto the constantly rolling, dyeing and printing machine. Along the way, saffron and green dyes are added. Then the Ashoka Chakra is stamped. At the other end, the Tricolour comes out in reams that cascade onto a waiting trolley.
Sanjay Sarawagi, the factory owner, says he has orders to supply one crore flags for the “Har Ghar Tiranga” campaign in which the Centre has identified 24 crore homes across the country that would hoist the Tricolour from August 13 to 15 to mark 75 years of Independence. After the flag code was amended in December last year to allow machine-made and polyester cloth, this is the biggest order that textile firms in Surat have got — through a “corporate-government partnership”.
Union MoS for Textiles and Railways Darshana Jardosh, who is the BJP MP from Surat, told The Indian Express, “Companies have been told to use their CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) funds for these flags. We are trying to make people buy the flags, and we have a fixed price of Rs 25 for a single flag (measuring 20”x30”). Only when people spend money on something, will they care for it. If something is given free, no proper care is taken.”
According to Jardosh, “Apart from Surat where the flag-making is on a large scale, flags are being made in Noida (UP), Maharashtra and southern India. Surat’s textile industry has a wide reach and we know that Surat has the capacity to meet the demand, as it has the infrastructure for every stage of the manufacturing process. We (the Ministries of Textiles and Culture) have formed a body and got a target for 11 crore flags for the campaign. Similarly, other ministries also have got targets as have state governments. There are 24 crore houses in the country and attempts are being made to ensure that the tricolour reaches each and every house.”
Sarawagi says he has engaged over 5,000 workers, including 3,000 women, to finish the order of one crore flags from Aditya Birla group, which he has to deliver by August 10. “We started the work on July 1. Our people are working in two shifts 24×7, and we load the flags onto vehicles of the client that come daily,” he said.
The vendors have been chosen by the Union ministry of textiles, according to Rajesh Vataliya, marketing head of Grasim Industries of the Aditya Birla Group. “We also got intimation from the ministry to supply flags to Meghalaya, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Manipur and Maharashtra.”
Grasim industries has been assigned vendors such as Jai Singh Sharma of Jay Pradhan Shree Tradex Pvt Ltd, New Delhi, Shree Arvind Gadia of Gadia Enterprises, Surat, Gujarat, Sanjay Sarawagi of Laxmipati Sarees, Surat, Gujarat, Vikas Kundaliya and Brijesh Gondaliya of Unique Fur fabric Pvt Ltd, Surat, Gujarat, Manan Gondaliya and Brijesh Gondaliya of Surat, Gujarat, Salauddin Mandal of Uddin Enterprises, Kolkata, West Bengal, KN Textiles in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, Kabir Kumar of Anirath Contracts, New Delhi, and Ashish Bajaj of Anaghyam Enterprises, Punjab.
Alok Industries of Silvassa, in the Union Territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli, has got an order of two crore flags. Tulsi Tejwani, CEO, said, “We got the order on July 15 and August 8 is the deadline given by the ministry. As the order is huge, we are outsourcing to other companies in Surat. We purchase grey bales from Bhiwandi and Malegaon in Maharashtra, and also from Surat and get it dyed and printed in Surat.”
Tejwani said, “Once the product is delivered from these factories to Silvassa, it is cut, stitched and packed. Starting from one lakh flags a day, we now finish eight lakh flags a day.”
Adding that they don’t have a CSR, Tejwani said, “We have been told to supply the Tricolour consignment to different states and the respective state governments will pay us.”
In Ahmedabad, flag-making units have received large-scale orders from several business houses. “This is the first time that we have got orders on such a large scale. Usually, for Independence Day, we make 10-15 lakh flags every year. We got orders from Mathura (UP), Surat (Gujarat) and Ahmedabad (Gujarat), as the units there were over-burdened,” said Imran Khan, 40, a tailor from the old city area.
Khan has received bundles of printed flags in satin and roto polyester from Mathura, Surat and Ahmedabad. “We have got 10-15 lakh meters of bundles…satin from Surat and roto from Mathura” says Khan. He is making flags of 30”x20” and 23”x15” sizes.