Taking cognizance of a plea filed by People for Ethical Treatment of Animals, the MP government has imposed a ban on stocking and sale of glass-coated thread used to fly kites. The order will go a long way in saving birds from getting injured by the razor-sharp threads, popularly called manja.
Peta had written to the senior officials in the state, including environment minister Lal Singh Arya, requesting a ban on manja as it had led to several injuries and loss of life in the recent past.
“Most people care about wildlife and would choose plain cotton kite strings over the glass-coated ones if they knew about the risk it poses to birds”, said government affairs liaison of Peta, Nikunj Sharma. “We have also filed a petition with the National Green Tribunal urging a nationwide ban on the sale and use of all forms of manja,” he said.
The states and district administrations – including Amritsar, Andhra Pradesh, Chennai, Gujarat, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Maharashtra, New Delhi, Telangana, and Uttar Pradesh – have already banned or restricted its sale and use. The ministry of environment, forest and climate change has also issued advisory urging state governments to address the manja menace, and the Animal Welfare Board of India has written to all states and union territories encouraging them to ban it.
A bird rescuer in Ahmedabad estimates that 2,000 birds – including pigeons, kites, and vultures – get injured every year during the city’s Uttarayan festival, of which 500 die.
Manja poses a great threat to humans, too. During Independence Day celebrations in Delhi, three people – including two children – received fatal injuries resulting in death.
In 2015, a man in Hyderabad died after his throat was slit by manja while he was riding his motorcycle.
In December 2014, a two-year-old boy in Jaipur received 22 stitches after manja cut his face and neck.
In January 2014, a 5-year-old girl and a 26-year-old motorcyclist were killed by manja in Jaipur and Nagpur, respectively,
In December 2013, a boy in Varanasi, the only son of a poor mason, was killed when his throat was slit by manja.