Now, Your Rail Journey Will Be Better Thanks To 100-ft Tall Flags Adorning 75 Railway Stations

As if renaming cities and making gigantic statues worth crores wasn't enough, the latest diktat underlines the government's misplaced priorities yet again

In an apparent bid to infuse patriotism among passengers, the Indian Railways is set to install 100-feet tall national flags at 75 busiest railway stations across the country. The Railway Board, the apex body of the national transporter, has directed 75 railway stations in India, whose annual earnings exceed Rs 50 crore (called A-1 category stations) to install flags by the end of next month.

“The Board has decided to provide a monumental flag (of at least 100-ft height) at all the erstwhile ‘A1’ class railway stations. The work should be completed by December 2018.” said the order issued by Railway Board executive director (station development) Vivek Saxena. It also said that that the cost of the work could be charged under umbrella work of ‘Soft upgrades improvement at stations’.

According to a report in Mumbai Mirror , the cost that will go into installing the 100-ft flag will be around Rs 9 lakh which also included the lights and other decorative pieces. A senior government official told the daily the latest directive is a part of the government drive to project “symbols of nationalism”.

As if renaming cities and making gigantic statues worth crores wasn’t enough, the latest diktat underlines the government’s misplaced priorities yet again. Instead of tackling real issues, the government tries to shield its failures with these token gestures of nationalism.

How patriotic a passenger would feel, if his family is forced to travel on wait-listed ticket for lack of seats? What purpose would a flag serve, if the food served to the passenger is contaminated? What about those who could not gather courage to relieve themselves during the journey just because the toilets are choked? How about making our trains more punctual because there are times when a watch simply does not help, a calendar is required to ascertain the arrival of delayed trains.

Netizens were not very impressed after Railway minister made the announcement on Twitter.

In February 2016, the then HRD minister Smriti Irani directed all central universities to fly a national flag, weighing 35kg and hoisted 207 ft high, round the clock on their campuses. However, when the varsities asked for fund for this fresh dose of patriotism, they were told to “explore finance at their level”. Eventually, all of them gave a 35 kg flag a miss, and continued with the smaller flags which they already had in their campus.