Even as the national flag will be raised all over the city to mark Independence Day on Wednesday, the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) has witnessed a dip in the number of flags sold this year.
The KVIC is the government-authorised body for making and selling the Indian tricolour.
KVIC’s Vile Parle and Andheri outlets sold about 2.25 lakh national flags till the eve of Independence Day this year. Last year, they had sold more than 3 lakh flags till August 15 in the city.
“The number of flags sold fluctuates every year as many people use the same flag for a few years before buying a new one,” said an official from KVIC who did not wish to be named. A senior official from the organisation said that last year, Anna Hazare’s anti-graft movement had marginally increased the sale of the tricolour.
“Almost 99% of the demand for flags comes from government bodies, while people choose to buy them from the local market, where they are cheaper,” said DN Bhatt, who heads the Khadi Dryers and Printers unit in Kora Kendra in Borivli where the flags are made. “This affects small scale industry workers across the country who make the khadi cloth for the authorised flags. If people want to show their true patriotism, they should buy the authorised flags,” he said.
The cloth for the national flags is hand-woven across rural sectors. The grey khadi cloth is then put through 40 procedures including dyeing, printing and stitching.
The khadi flags cost between Rs. 180 and Rs. 15000, depending on their size. This is more than double the cost of the non-khadi cloth flags.