The Indian Railways has decided to install at least 100-foot tall Tricolours on the premises of 75 of the busiest stations in the country, including seven in Mumbai, by the end of December.
The Railway Board, the apex body of the national transporter, issued an order on October 22, which has been forwarded to all the zonal railways. The order directs the authorities concerned to complete the flag installation work by the end of next month.
The order issued by Vivek Saxena, Railway Board Executive Director (station development), says, “The Board has decided to provide monumental flag [of at least 100-ft height] at all the erstwhile ‘A1’ class railway stations. The work should be completed by December 2018.” The cost of the work may be charged under the umbrella work of ‘Soft upgrades improvement at stations’.
Mumbai, which has the headquarters of two zonal railways — Central Railway and Western Railway — houses seven A-1 category stations. The remaining 68 stations fall in other cities and zonal railways. The stations in the city are Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus, the Lokmanya Tilak Terminus, Dadar, Thane, Kalyan, Mumbai Central, and Bandra Terminus.
The Railway Board order states, “The flag should be provided in circulating area of the stations and at a suitable place. It should be provided with focused lights. The security and the safety of the flag shall rest with the Railway Protection Force.”
A senior Central Railway officer said that they have received the communication and places to install the flags were being identified. Chief Spokesperson of the Western Railway Ravinder Bhakar said, “The Railway Board’s order will be followed in letter and spirit and our team will do our best to complete the flag installation work within the given deadline.”
Ratan Poddar, a member of the Zonal Railway Users Consultative Committee panel set up by the Western Railway, expressed reservations over the move saying, “The priority of the Railways should be upgrading passenger amenities. The installation of the national flag is certainly not related to that. I don’t think mere the installation of flags will instill a sense of patriotism in people.”