Tourism Department tasked with maintaining flagpole

Despite being torn, the huge National Flag atop the ceremonial flagpole erected on the Kanakakkunnu Palace grounds here was not lowered late on Thursday by the Department of Tourism which is tasked with maintaining the structure.

While the damage to the flag was first noticed by passersby on Wednesday evening, it became very evident on Thursday morning. The stitches on one edge of the flag came undone — presumably due to strong winds — causing a strip of cloth to get detached from the flag.

A spokesman with the office of Union Minister of State for Human Resource Shashi Tharoor, who worked with the Flag Foundation of India (run by Naveen Jindal, MP) to get the mast installed, told The Hindu that he had called up the officials at the Department of Tourism on Thursday morning itself. “By evening, I was told that it required an electrical device to lower the flag and that the job had to be done by engineers of the electrical wing of the Public Works Department. The engineers, I was told, were unavailable through the day,” the spokesman said.

The Flag Foundation had supplied two flags when the mast was erected. Some time ago when the first flag got damaged, it was lowered and the standby flag hoisted. When the standby flag got damaged, the original flag was reportedly hoisted again. It is this flag that has developed a damage now.

Dr. Tharoor’s office also told The Hindu that the Department of Tourism had made a payment of Rs.52,750 to the Flag Foundation and that a new flag would reach here in a week.