R S Patil visits the National Flag Manufacturing Unit of Karnataka Khadi Gramodyoga Samyukta Sangha and discovers that there are several quality checks before a flag is actually ready for sale.
The Karnataka Khadi Gramodyoga Samyukta Sangha (KKGSS) in Hubli established the National Flag Manufacturing Unit at Bengeri in 2006. The national tricolour is made of khadi, and is made according to the strict rules specified by the Home Ministry, according to the KKGSS Chairman B B Patil.
The unit has made a name for itself across the country for its flag making. By the time a flag is readied and is sent to the market, it is subject to at least 18 tests, according to the manager of the flag making unit, Mutalik Desai.
For the production of national flags, the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) has set some standards in the design, constructional details and other particulars. It should be made of hand spun and hand woven cotton khadi bunting.
Any flag that is manufactured here has to have a specific number of warps and wefts in a square centimetre. It's only then that the flag assumes the status of a national flag.
Also, the weight of the cloth, the colour and quality of bleaching are all tested.
Then, there is the question of whether the Ashoka chakra at the centre is according to norms prescribed in the Flag Code. The colours and the size of the saffron, green and white strips are also checked.
Even the number of stitches are prescribed in the code, and the flag is put under a check for all these norms.
The toggle attached to each flag is also checked for quality. Once the flag is checked, it is stamped with ISI mark. The toggled flag is steam ironed and folded neatly.
Also, flags are designed for various purposes and there are flags available in nine sizes, as specified by the Flag Code.
It is only bunting cloth that is used for the manufacture of the national flag. The cloth is procured from Bagalkot district's Tulsigere, Jalihal, and Badami taluk's Belur. According to Desai, as many as 40-45 women have been employed in the making of these flags. All the processes from dyeing, bleaching, printing of the Ashoka Chakra, stitching and pressing are carried out at the Hubli centre. The flags are sold across the country through the various khadi centres.
According to Chairman Patil, the maximum sale of national flags are during January and August. The aim this year is to boost sales up to Rs one crore, he adds.