Government's direction on sale of plastic-made national flags seems to have no effect as scores of unfazed vendors sold such tricolours on various traffic signals in the city today.
Most of the vendors claim to have received such items in bulk from their respective marketeers 10-15 days in advance, while the directive from the government a few days ago.
Ministry of Home Affairs in its recent notification had said that it had been brought to its notice that on important occasions the flags made of plastic were being used instead of paper. This, the Ministry said, creates difficultly in disposal of plastic flags with dignity.
MHA in its advisory had also said that whoever within public view burns, mutilates, defaces, defiles, disfigures, destroys, tramples upon or shows any sign of disrespect or brings into contempt whether by words spoken or written, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years with fine, or both as per Section 2 of the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act 1971.
The marketeers, however, received in bulk the plastic-made flags and forwarded the same to the vendors across the city.
A shopkeeper in the Mehrauli area of south Delhi says that every year markets of Sadar, Janakpuri, Badali are loaded with such flags which are purchased by the vendors in large numbers.
"My shop is a seasonal one, we sell kites and flags near August 15, wool in winters and so on depending upon the seasons and festivals. I got 10,000 plastic flags from Sadar market and have already sold around 3,500 - 4,000 of them," he said.
Also the fact that cost of a plastic flag is half of what a paper made flag would cost, makes these non bio-degradable items favourite of the shop owners.
"A plastic made flag costs hardly 25 paise where as same size paper flag will be of not less than 50 paise and then their has to be a wooden stick to support it, it takes the cost upto 70-80 paise. It earns less profit to the vendor, the shopkeeper, the marketeers and all," he said.
The awareness about the disrespect of the tricolour has, however, not been hidden from these puny businessmen, but the demand of the item in bulk is what brings them on the same track every year.
"If the government wants to ban sale of these flags then, its production must be stopped. Someone who is selling them and earning a good living would never stop on moral grounds. This is only a job for people, those who print and those who sell it on the signals. We are middlemen, it won't affect us much if there is a complete ban," he said.
MHA had stressed that the flags used by the public were not discarded or thrown on the ground after the event. Such flags are to be disposed of in private consistent with the dignity of the flag, the Ministry stated.