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Deccan Herald » Spectrum » Full Story

Why all national flags will be 
‘Made in Hubli’


After a prolonged struggle for four long years, the Karnataka Khadi Gramodyog Samyukta Sangha in Hubli has bagged the prestigious assignment for the production of national flags, reports SHYAM SUNDAR VATTAM.

Hubli will have the unique privilege to hold forth the national flag for the rest of the nation. The Khadi Development Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) recently accorded permission to the Hubli-based Karnataka Khadi Gramodyog Samyukta Sangha to manufacture the tri-colour and supply it to the entire nation.

The recent announcement by the KVIC, granting permission to Khadi Gramodyog Samyukta Sangha to manufacture the country’s flag was really a proud moment for the commercial capital of north Karnataka. It was after a four-year long effort by the president B S Patil and his team, that the prestigious assignment was bagged by the Sangha.

All these years the Sangha has been selling flags manufactured by a private company, but henceforth it will have to make the national flag as per strict guidelines of the Bureau of Indian Standards.

This is not an easy task as any defects in the manufacture of flags, such as colour, size and thread count will be considered as a serious offence and is liable for fine or imprisonment or both, as per the provisions of Flag Code of India 2002.

Both saffron and green have to be as per specification and should be equal. The chakra should contain 24 spokes and the printing has to be precise on both sides. There should be a four-thread stitch in each centimetre of the cloth. The entire lot will be rejected in case of defects in the number of stitches.

The Sangha has already completed the process of setting up the necessary infrastructure such as a building and the procurement of machinery. As many as 60 machines have already been installed at the Sangha building.

To begin with, the Sangha is planning to manufacture 5,000 flags of various sizes. A master cutter and 60 tailors will be working on the project.

The flags thus stitched will have to be sent to the BIS board for approval. The board has powers to reject it, in case the guidelines are not followed. Only those which get quality approval can be marketed by the Sangha.

The Sangha will have no difficulty in procuring specified khadi cloth for manufacturing flags since they have a full-fledged unit in Bagalkot district, which is equipped to meet the standards laid down by the BIS. Every year the Sangha purchases khadi cloth worth Rs 60 lakh from the Bagalkot unit. After obtaining the raw material, it is scrutinised by the Sangha personnel who ensure there are no defects in the material and the number of threads per centimetre. Only then is it taken for bleaching and colour dyeing. While the khadi cloth used for stitching the flag is quite thick and durable, the rope hem used on one side to tie the flag is procured from Kolkata. The Sangha has already started manufacturing some flags on a trial basis and a sample has been sent to the BIS for its approval. Full-fledged production is expected to start next month.

The average annual sale of flags in the entire country is about one crore. With the Supreme Court permitting citizens to hoist the national tricolour, the sale of flags is expected to drastically rise.

Thus there is a need to gear up production, especially in order to meet the requirements of all government departments for the Independence Day celebrations.

With its newly-acquired status, the flag manufacturing unit seems to have put Hubli on the national map.


FLAG FACTS

One man who is rejoicing at KVIC’s decision to grant permission to the Karnataka Khadi Gramodyog Samyuktha Sangha to manufacture the tri-colour is its chairman, B S Patil. A veteran Gandhian and a social worker, Mr Patil toiled hard for nearly four years to bag this prestigious assignment. Having won the assignment for the Sangha, he is now busy making preparations to begin the production of the flags in a big scale.

Speaking to Deccan Herald, he explained the various measures he had initiated in the past by contacting the defence forces so as to bag more orders. According to him, the Indian Navy requires flags made out of woollen, while the Indian Air Force needs flags made out of silk.

The Sangha is very keen on supplying flags to these institutions as per specifications as their requirements are very high. If the Sangha manages to bag this contract too, the sale of flags would automatically reach an astronomical figure of three to four crore every year, he adds. Mr Patil also laments the lack of understanding among the citizens about the importance of the national tricolour. As he points out, there are specifications concerning the type and size of flags which are hoisted atop the Rashtrapati Bhavan, Raj Bhavan, Vidhana Soudha, and the head quarters of the defence forces and the police. Many government officials are not even aware of it.

According to him, all the state governments have to take strict measures against the sale of plastic flags, especially on August 15 and January 26. Recalling an incident a few years ago, when the district administration had placed an order for manufacturing around three lakh plastic flags in connection with the golden jubilee celebrations of Indian Independence, Mr Patil points out that he had written a detailed letter to the Deputy Commissioner taking strong objection to it. The DC was told that such an act amounted to violation of the Flag Code and was punishable under law. The authorities concerned immediately cancelled the order.

Stating that manufacturing national flags was not like producing ready-made clothes, Mr Patil says that it involves a strict procedure. He also adds that the Sangha would undertake the task of creating awareness among the citizens. He feels it is an honour and a matter of great pride for Hubli to have got the opportunity to provide the tricolour to the entire nation.

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