Rs 2.92 crore gone with the winds? Flag atop Gandhi mandap may not fly every day

The third highest flagpole in India, with a 120 x 80 feet tri-colour hoisted in Guwahati on October 2 on the occasion of the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi this year, may not be a regular affair after the flag developed a tear for the second time within a month’s time.

The flagpole positioned atop Sarania hills at the premises of Gandhi mandap could be visible from many places of the city. The project cost was Rs 2.92 crore. A similar tear was developed on November 7.

The 319.5 feet flagpole is the highest in the country with respect to the average elevation of the city. The 361 feet flagpole in Belagavi of Karnataka holds the record of India’s tallest flagpole and following that is 360 feet flagpole at Indo-Pak border at Attari in Punjab.

“It’s a technical snag which we have discussed with the other centres which have the highest flagpoles. We were informed that they too have faced the similar problems. So, they have stopped to hoist the flag every day. They now hoist the flag only on the important national days,” a top official of the Guwahati Smart City Limited which was entrusted with the task told The News Mill.

Though the official was tight-lipped if the Guwahati flag too will follow the same way, he said that they are yet to decide on that.

“See, it’s too early to say that. We haven’t decided yet on that thing. We have already show-caused the company who has been looking after the flags. We have also asked them to reply in the written so that action can be initiated,” he added.

On November 26, the Guwahati Smart City Limited issued a press release detailing the nature of tear or damage caused in other similar high-mast flag installations in the country. The press release contained news links, trying to prove the point that the problem is common across the country. “…this nature of tear or damage on the National Flag in other similar high mast National Flag installations which are over 200 feet, has been seen to occur across the country. Mention can be made of the ones at Wagah, Ranchi, Bangalore and Hyderabad which are facing similar incidences of recurrent damage to the National Flag. The Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation is in the process of framing a policy on hoisting the Tricolor at Nigdi Chowk only on important National days to overcome the problem of frequent damage,” the press release said.

The work was awarded to M/S Bajaj Electricals Limited through competitive bidding and work started in April, 2018. The total project cost is Rs 2.92 crore.

The structural design of the flagpole and the flag has been vetted by the department of civil engineering IIT- Bombay and approved by project management consultant (TATA Consulting Engineers Limited) considering the wind parameters and seismic effects.

The weight of structural steel is around 46 metric tonnes. The size of the national flag is 120 X 80 feet and the fabric of the flag is polyester with nylon webbing.

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