New Delhi: Independence Day is only a day away but the usual fervour for tri-coloured flags is missing this time.
Sales of miniature Indian flags at traffic signals and those meant to adorn desks and dashboards are down. The Khadi Gram Udyog is moaning that the demand has fallen by about 20 percent.
"The demand is down by 20 percent compared to last year. The demand has not picked up though we are so close to Aug 15," a Khadi Gram Udyog official told reporters.
Indian flags in khadi sold at Khadi Gram Udyog`s outlets are hugely popular.
"We get our supply from a foundation in Maharashtra. Generally the demand for the flag shoots up before Republic Day and Independence Day. This time it is different," the official added.
A sweeping look at the capital`s roads and the number of tri-coloured fare in the arms of the street children at traffic signals back the point.
Miniature flags made of plastic and other products cost between Rs5 and Rs20.
Rajashri Das, an office-goer who like every year bought a flag stand for her car`s dashboard, said: "It`s surprising that the number of small flags and other Independence Day fare is not seen as much this time. A boy I bought the flag stand from said the demand for the flag was not much."
Rinky, a street kid who buys flags and other fare from the wholesale market and sells it at a traffic junction in south Delhi`s Moti Bagh area, said: "Not many people are buying things from us. But I am sure that the sales will pick up on Aug 15 like they do every year."
Commander KV Singh of the Flag Foundation of India, which promotes the national flag, however insisted that the demand for the national flag had not dipped. But he admitted that neither had it risen.
"The demand has been constant. We have supplied 1,300 flags in the last two weeks and there have been demands from Haryana, Bangalore and Mumbai, besides Delhi," Singh told reporters.
"If there is a shift it is this that people now prefer flags in fabrics that are cheaper compared to khadi flags that are more expensive. Having said that I still can`t say that the demand for the flag has risen," he added.
However, many tourists are buying the Indian flag.
"Whether they buy it as a souvenir or otherwise, there are a lot of foreigners who have been buying the Indian flag. And why not? Our flag is so beautiful that it is worth being kept as a memoir," said the official of Khadi Gram Udyog in Connaught Place, the very heart of the capital.