HYDERABAD: The Telangana government is finding that hoisting the largest Indian flag is easier than keeping it hoisted. The flag measuring 72 ft by 108 ft had to be brought down because it was torn in the wind barely 48 hours after it was hoisted on Telangana Formation Day, June 2.
Officials of the Flag Foundation of India, a non-profit organization that consults on large flag projects across India, said wear and tear due to strong winds is a frequent occurrence with flags across India. Commodore (retired) K V Singh of the foundation said any flag that is hoisted above 100 ft is vulnerable to wind damage.
"Just this month, the flag in Delhi has been damaged thrice," he said. "Even the flag at Faridabad was damaged a couple of times and it was made by the same contractors as the Hyderabad flag."
He said that damage is inevitable regardless of the type of fabric used to make the flag.
The Telangana government hoisted the largest Indian Tricolour atop the second tallest flagpole at Sanjeevaiah Park in Hyderabad. The state’s effort to achieve flag superlatives was stymied from the very beginning. The initial proposal to erect a 303 ft flag mast, which would have bettered the 293 ft flag pole built by the government of Jharkhard, came to nought as the Airports Authority of India objected to the height because the Begumpet airport is in the near vicinity of the park.
The height of the flag mast was pruned to 275 ft and the flag was hoisted by Telangana chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao on June 2.
Made of knitted polyester, the flag weighed 66 kg and cost Rs 1.35 lakh.
A tear appeared in the top corner of the flag two days after it was flown. It was taken down and patched up and hoisted back up. But the tear widened within a matter of hours.
Since flying torn flags is against the rules governing flags, the Telangana government took it down and replaced it with a makeshift flag while ordering replacements.
Other large flags hoisted across India have experienced similar problems. The Jharkhand flag, measuring 66 ft by 99 ft and weighing 60 kg, was made by the same Mumbai firm that made the Telangana ensign. When it was hoisted atop a 293 ft mast at Pahari Mandir in Ranchi back in April, it got torn in the wind too. A replacement got stuck in the middle due a malfunctioning pulley and the Army had to be called in to restore it to the correct position.
"If the flag is more than 100 feet high, damage is expected since the wind velocity is very high," said Commodore K V Singh.
A number of monumental flags have been hoisted across the country since 2014.