By M.T. Yogesh Kumar
With just a day to go for the 75th Independence Day, there is a shortage of Khadi flags. Though the demand is increasing by the hour, shops in the city are facing a severe shortage.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call to the people to hoist the National Flag in connection with Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav to mark India’s Independence from British rule has generated a lot of enthusiasm but many are disappointed when they couldn’t find Khadi flags in the market.
Normally, the National Flags are ubiquitous in the open market a few days before Independence Day and Republic Day. This year happens to be the platinum jubilee of India’s Independence and the Union Government has been stressing its observation by one and all.
Many thought they could hoist the flag atop their roofs but Khadi flags are nowhere to be seen, be it at the commercial shops, or the innumerable Khadi outlets in the city.
Though Khadi flags are manufactured at a few places in North Karnataka, there are no such mass weaving or manufacturing units anywhere in South Karnataka, which has severely hampered supplies to districts. Due to the shortfall in supplies, the Government was forced to look at alternatives such as polyester and silk flags.
In Mysuru, Khadi flags are generally available at Khadi Bhandars on Dhanvantri Road, at Ballal Circle and at Kuvempunagar. With the Khadi flag having its own identity, it has a special demand from all quarters and a shortfall in supplies has dented the aspirations of the people who had wanted to hoist the Khadi tri-colour atop their homes.
Dhanvantri Road Khadi Bhandar (Khadi Vastralaya) Manager B.S. Mallikarjuna said that there are only a small number of flags in stock and they will be sold in no time.
“All these years, only Government offices, schools and colleges, Gram Panchayats used to order for Khadi flags and as such only 250 to 300 Khadi flags used to be sold. But as the country is celebrating the 75th year of independence, there is a huge demand for Khadi flags even from the general public as they want to hoist them atop their homes. With the sudden rise in demand, the Bhandar has sold more than a thousand flags of different sizes,” he said.
The flags to Mysuru Khadi Bhandars are being supplied from Garaga in Dharwad district, which is famous for its spinning wheels. Due to COVID, the sale of flags had dropped drastically over the past two years. While flags measuring 2×3 ft. costs Rs. 925, 3×4.5 ft. flag is priced at Rs.1,750 and flags measuring 6×4 ft. is priced at Rs. 2,600, Mallikarjuna said adding that perhaps there would have been a shortfall in supplies if the Government had announced the Har Ghar Tiranga campaign a few months ago.
High cost too
But there is resentment among the general public about the high cost of the Khadi flag.
Anand, the owner of Jupiter stores which sells flags, said that flag sales have picked up after a gap of two years. Pointing out that he has been selling polyester flags, he said that sizes range from 1 ft. to 5 ft. and the customers can have the flags of their choice.
Noting that these flags are selling from Rs. 30 to 180, he said that due to the sudden spurt in demand, with the Government announcing the Har Ghar Tiranga campaign, the manufacturers are unable to meet the demand in a short span of time.
As such, cheap flags which were used to be sold at Rs. 5 and 10 are hardly available now, which has deeply disappointed the children, who were the main customers of these low-priced flags.
Though some manufacturers have stepped up production to meet the demand, they are woefully short of the target and are able to supply only about 100 flags to a shop every day, Anand said adding that but for the tri-colour, cloth badges, buntings, metal badges, bands, ribbon and other paraphernalia used in the Independence Day celebration are in good supply and there is no shortage of these.