At 3.05pm on Sunday, Ranchi's skyline above Pahadi temple saw India's largest Tricolour on the tallest flag-post fluttering in glory after a fortnight. But, this time round, the outfit responsible to maintain the flag has taken steps to ensure embarrassing gaps like these don't recur.
Since the time Union defence minister Manohar Parrikar hoisted the Tricolour on January 23, it has had to be brought down thrice, twice for flag repairs and once for a technical glitch. But now, Ranchi Pahadi Mandir Vikas Samiti, entrusted with maintaining the flag and the flag-post, has taken necessary lessons on preventing it from ripping and see to it that it flutters for a longer time.
A day after it was hoisted, on January 24, the flag weighing 60kg and 66ftx99ft in size, had a tear and had to be brought down on January 25. On Republic Day, a new flag had to be put up, which lasted for some 10 days till it got stuck in the derrick (frame) and had to be brought down. Put up again after a couple of days, in mid-February, the flag's stitches that kept it snug on the flag-post, loosened. It had to be brought down again.
Gyan Shah, the proprietor of Mumbai-based The Flag Corporation, who created the flag, said such gigantic flags did not last for more than a month or two because they were put up on higher altitudes with fierce wind velocity.
The Ranchi Tricolour, which is the highest in India, flutters atop a 293 feet flag-post, which stands on Ranchi Hill that measures 2,140 feet from sea level.
But, because the big flags are so costly, everything must be done to prolong their lifespan, he stressed. The two flags for Ranchi, made of 100 per cent polyester with UV resistant colour (sunlight-proof), cost Rs 1.8 lakh each.
Shah also advised organisers to stock up on spare flags, which the Samiti has taken.
"One should be actually prepared with spare flags as you do not know what the wind pressure will be like. Ripping is natural," said Shah, whose company specialises in manufacturing 48x72ft sized flags hoisted in many Indian states, manufacturing around 100 such flags a year.
"Yes, we have learned lessons on maintenance," Hari Jalan, Samiti treasurer, said. "We have now ordered four more flags of around Rs 1 lakh to ensure the temple skyline never again goes blank. One person will be given charge to monitor the flag regularly."
"We prepared two flags initially for Ranchi and now we got four more orders. It is a right move on their (Pahadi temple samiti) part as one needs flags on standby. If the Tricolour is brought down, another must be put up immediately," Shah added.
The flag put up on January 23 tore from bottom left corner, he said. "We were told that there was a derrick around the flagpole in which the flag got stuck. I assume a similar problem won't recur as the derrick has been removed. We have repaired the first flag, which will reach Ranchi on Monday. What you see now in Ranchi is the second flag whose stitches had come loose."
Jalan said they sent for special threads from Mumbai for its repair. The Samiti got the flag fixed on temple premises.