India's largest, tallest flag gets stuck half mast, Army called in

Preparations are on to erect a scaffolding to reach the flagpole of the India's largest and tallest tricolour atop Ranchi's Pahari Temple after it slipped following high winds on Sunday and then got stuck half-mast due to a technical problem.

India's tallest tricolor appears to be flying at half mast as it has been stuck due to a snag in the pulley system, at Pahari hills in Ranchi, Jharkhand on Thursday. On Wednesday, a team of Army personnel was called in to assess the situation. Pic/PTI

The 66 ft high and 99 ft wide flag, which weighs 60 kg, was hoisted on a 293 ft tall pole.

A fault in the pulley system has caused the national flag to fly half-mast, much to the embarrassment of the state.

Since January 23 when it was hoisted by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar in the presence of Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das, the towering national flag has been a sight like no other in the country. 

That was until Sunday when a failure of the pulley system caused it to fly half-mast -- which should happen only when the country is in mourning.

The problem has been so complex that the Ranchi district administration has sought help from Indian Army to fix it. 

"It seems the metal string used to raise the tricolour has slipped. Now the flag will have to be brought down. The army is trying to bring it down," a member of the committee that maintains the flag told IANS.

Flying the flag at half-mast without a reason is a violation of the Flag Code.

It now transpires that the national flag also got torn on a couple of occasions and had to be replaced. 

The opposition parties are using the flag at half-mast to attack the BJP-led state government.

"The BJP talks about nationalism and then fails to maintain the sanctity of the national flag. Why is Raghubar Das not taking action against the people involved in the mismanagement?" Alok Dubey, general secretary of Congress in Jharkhand, said to IANS. 

Jharkhand Mukti Morcha general secretary Supriyo Bhattacharya said: "There are some people in the flag management committee that are close to the government. The government should dare to take action against them." 

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