Fate of 293-feet flagpole at Ranchi’s Pahari Mandir in limbo as Jharkhand plans to develop it as tourist destination

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New Delhi | Published: August 16, 2018 3:21:38 PM

The Jharkhand government's plan to develop the historic Pahari Mandir into a tourist attraction has rendered the fate of a 293-feet flagpole present at the destination as uncertain.

The flagpole was used for hoisting the Indian flag for the first time on January 23, 2016. (File photo: IE)

The Jharkhand government’s plan to develop the historic Pahari Mandir into a tourist attraction has rendered the fate of a 293-feet flagpole present at the destination as uncertain. The Raghubar Das administration has roped in L&T, a private firm, to review all aspects related to the development of the Pahari Mandir area. It is the recommendations based on this review that is now believed to decide the fate of one of the country’s tallest flagpoles.

The flagpole was used for hoisting the Indian flag for the first time on January 23, 2016. The flagpole is 293 feet high and is erected on a base about 200 feet high. Another flag was hoisted on August 15, 2016. However, the flag has not been flown atop the flagpole due to some reason other reason.

The local administration has said that the company will review the Mandir and will make recommendations based on its findings. SDO, Ranchi, Anjali Yadav told Indian Express, “It has been decided that all issues regarding Pahari Mandir would be reviewed by L&T and will give its recommendations. Any further decision on Pahari Mandir, including a decision on the flagpole, can be taken only after that.” Yadav is also the ex-officio secretary of the Pahari Mandir Samiti.

It was on January 23, 2016, when the then Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar hoisted the flag at the flagpole for the first time. That flag was 66th/99 feet in dimensions and weighed 60 kg. However, right from the beginning, it began to face wear-and-tear. Reportedly, due to heavy winds, the flags were damaged.

A new problem cropped up in April 2016, when the flag got stuck midway while hoisting. Reportedly, it took 10 days just to bring it down. However, on August 15, 2016, when the flag was hoisted for the second time to mark the 70th Independence day, it was procured from Sharjah and had better fabric quality.

Several petitions were also filed in Jharkhand High Court alleging disrespect to the national flag. Later, the High Court directed to ensure that no disrespect was shown to the national flag and said to hoist on special occasions. However, flag hoisting could not take place. A Pahari Mandir Samiti spokesperson told Indian Express, “The flag has not been hoisted since the last two years. We did not want to have another problem.”

The Pahari Mandir has found its relevance from the belief that many freedom fighters were hanged by the Britishers on this hill and the flag hoisting has become a part of the local tradition to honour them.

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