On Thursday, February 18, the Ministry of Human Resources Development announced every central government-run university must have a giant tricolour on campus. It even specified the dimensions: a 207-feet high mast that must weigh 135 kg.
However, no one at that point of time brought up the matter of who would fund these flags. The dimensions given by the HRD are very similar to those of the monumental flags which have been installed at Connaught Place in Delhi, Kaithal in Haryana and Jaipur in Rajasthan, all by the Flag Foundation of India.
The foundation was set up by MP Naveen Jindal in June 2002 and has installed more than 50 giant flags across India.
In a recent interview to the Economic Times, the CEO of the foundation, Commander (retd) KV Singh, said that it costs Rs 40-45 lakh to install a flag that is 200 feet high or so and it costs about Rs 65,000 to maintain it.
In another interview to The Telegraph, Singh said that the flagpole at Connaught Place alone cost Rs 1.25 crore.
So using his lower estimate for the cost of such a flag, here's how much it will cost to hoist the flags at all 46 central universities.
In September 2014, the Flag Foundation gifted Kabul, Afghanistan its first and highest monumental flagpole. The mammoth 60 x 90 ft flag cost Rs 4.36 lakh and the flagpole cost Rs 50 lakh. The total cost for the project was over 2 crore.
It's also possible that the rules of India's Flag Code will have to be bent a bit to allow these monumental flags to fly at night too at all the Central universities. While most national flags are lowered after sunset and hoisted again at dawn, this is a laborious and time-consuming process for such huge flags. This is why the flag at Delhi's Connaught Place flies without being taken down. At night, it's illuminate by eight 2,000 Watt lights.