Contrary to the normal practice of hoisting the national flag at sunrise and lowering it around sunset, Punjab local bodies minister Anil Joshi hoisted the tricolour at the Amrit Anand Bagh, Ranjit Avenue, here, quite close to the sunset on Sunday.
Though the top officials in the district remained tightlipped over the issue, some claimed that the hoisting of the flag could be performed before the official sunset timing.
Besides the city’s who’s-who, the evening walkers frequenting the Bagh and other residents of the city turned out in large numbers to witness the event. The widely attended hoisting ceremony took place past 5 pm on Sunday. Sources said it was earlier scheduled for 4 pm, but was rescheduled for 5pm on account of various reasons.
Officials in the district, on conditions of anonymity, said that on Sunday the official sunset time was 6:21 pm and the flag was hoisted prior to that. Hence, it could evoke no action. They averred that as per the latest ruling of the apex court, the national flag could be left flying even after sunset, but it cannot be given a salute.
They said in case of any violation of the norms, penalty could be imposed under the Flag Code of India, 2002, which is a set of laws about the use of the national flag.
The flag hoisted in Amritsar is by far the highest to be hoisted anywhere in Punjab and stands at a height of 170 feet. It is 40 feet long and 60 feet wide. According to government officials, on a clear day, the flag would be visible from a distance of 16 kilometers. The cost of the project is estimated to be Rs 30 lakh.