Almost a month after the National Green Tribunal (NGT) banned the use of glass-coated manjha for flying kites, the sharp string continues to be sold in Jaipur ahead of the Makar Sankranti festival.
Youngsters and adults fly kites during Makar Sankranti, a four-day festivity beginning January 14 dedicated to the sun god.
Emphasising that kite strings coated with glass and metal powder pose a threat to the environment, the green panel said the ban order would apply on nylon, Chinese and glass-coated cotton manjha. The NGT directed the Manjha Association of India to submit a report to the Central Pollution Control Board on harmful effects of kite strings
Some kite sellers in Jaipur said desi manjha – cotton threads toughened by rice gluten – was being sold; others said synthetic and Chinese manjha were also available at outlets. Some buyers said even desi manjha was coated with glass powder.
Serajuddin, who works in a jewellery industry in Johri Bazaar, said all types of manjha – desi or Chinese -- are dangerous and should be banned. “Desi manjha can kill or injure birds, and Chinese manja can kill humans,” he said.
“Manjha has killed two kids here. An acquaintance of mine was driving a scooter when Chinese manjha of a snapped kite got entangled in one of his ears; someone pulled it and half of his ear got severed,” Serajuddin said. “Even regular cotton string is dangerous for birds.”
A kite enthusiast argued that the government should not rob them of the fun of flying kites during Makar Sankranti, which, he said, is a major entertainment festival.
“Ban Diwali too because it causes pollution. Ban Holi too because the colours can cause cancer. Ban Eid-ul-Azha because animals are killed,” said Jeetu Bhai, a businessman in the Walled City. But he supported ban on Chinese manjha, calling it dangerous for birds. “But desi manjha hardly harms birds.”
Purshottam Agarwal, a cloth shop owner in the Walled City, hailed the ban on manjha, citing dangers to birds. Agreeing with him, another businessman said he has stopped his two kids from flying kites with manjha. “I let them fly kites with sadda (cotton string). But sadly, all types of manjha are being sold. Government should strictly enforce the ban,” said Rajender Jain.
The NGT direction came after advocates Sanjay Hegde and advocate Shadan Farasat, appearing for People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), sought the ban.
They referred to the November 2015 order of the Allahabad High Court, which banned the use of Chinese manjha in Uttar Pradesh and sought a ban on “manufacture, import, sale and use” of these strings.
The tribunal had earlier issued notices to the state governments and sought their response on the PETA plea.