Chinese manjha (string), which was banned in the national capital on August 16 after it claimed lives of two children in two days, is selling like hot cakes in Indore markets as the ban imposed on its sale last year is no longer in force and the administration has no plan to reimpose it as of now.
Amid reports of harm caused by Chinese string to even birds and animals, the district administration had imposed a ban on its sale under section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code between December 8, 2015 and February 5, 2016, which was later lifted, additional district magistrate Deepak Singh told HT on Friday, adding that the administration has not felt the need to impose the ban this year.
The demand for Chinese string by kite lovers is natural as it is durable, stretchable and cheaper than the traditional cotton string. Made of synthetic material and coated with fine glass powder, it is quite sharp – sharp enough to maim birds and animals.
Introduced in the Indian market a few years ago, it is now in high demand. As per Indore retailers, the price of Chinese string ranges between Rs 150 and Rs 250 for 6,000 metres while the traditional cotton thread costs Rs 150 to Rs 200 for 700 to 1,000 metres.
For retailers, it is available for Rs 30 to Rs 70 while the Indian string is available for Rs 110, said a retailer who sells the Chinese string, but did not want to be identified.
Harsidhi, Malharganj, Mewati Mohalla are some of the prominent wholesale and retail markets in the city, where kite lovers throng to purchase strings and kites as festivities, which started with Rakshabandhan and Independence Day, will continue till Makarsankranti, which falls either on January 14 or 15 every year.
Shoaib Khan, a small-time kite seller from one of city’s main kite markets Malharganj, said, “The Chinese string is much superior than the cotton string and it easily cuts the cotton string. In kite flying competitions, one with the Chinese thread emerges a winner with ease.”
Many shopkeepers in the area say that before intrusion of the Chinese product in kite industry demand for traditional string was high, but today almost everyone who flies kites opts for this manja as it easily snaps competitors’ kites compared to traditional cotton string.