BY January 2017, the BSF is planning to put up the tallest national flag near the Attari-Wagah Joint Check Post (JCP). So high, a top BSF official said, that at 350 feet, “it can be seen both from Lahore as well as Amritsar”. The move is part of the BSF’s expansion plans for the visitors’ gallery at the site of the iconic Retreat ceremony, said Ashok Kumar Yadav, the officiating Inspector General of BSF’s Punjab Frontier. Amritsar and Lahore are approximately 18 km away from the international border, he added.

The current record for the tallest national flag is held by the one atop a 293-ft-high mast in Jharkhand’s Ranchi. This 66-ft x 99-ft flag was hoisted in January by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. The earlier record was for the one in Faridabad, on a 250-ft mast. BSF’s senior public relations officer, DIG R S Kataria, said a platform would be raised on which the flag’s mast will be installed at the border, keeping in view extreme weather conditions. CCTV cameras will also be installed around it.

To regulate the huge turnout at the Wagah border for the iconic Beating Retreat ceremony by security forces of both India and Pakistan, the BSF is planning to make seats available online. Hundreds of tourists are turned away daily as a result of inadequate seating capacity, Yadav said, adding that the visitors’ gallery at Attari has a seating capacity of around 7,000, which is expected to go up to 20,000. The online booking facility will allow them to plan their visit with confirmed seats, he said.

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