You may not see the city’s skyline dotted with the usual number of kites this Makar Sankranti, with dealers complaining that sales have been poor, at least so far. While the sellers blamed the rise in the cost of kites for the decline, animal activists were confident that it stems from an increasing awareness of how birds are harmed during the festival.
“Business has not been as good as last year,” said Ahmed Kazi, owner of Bharat Kites Centre in Bandra. “Every year, we earn up to Rs5 lakh on Makar Sankranti from sales, but this year, it has dropped to Rs2 lakh.”
The Maharashtra Kite Centre in Dharavi also noted a drastic drop in sales. “We have sold only 40% of the kites we normally do at this time,” said manager Rizwan Sheikh. “The main reason is that the prices have increased by about 20% since they are transported from Barreilly and the cost of fuel has increased. Secondly, many people will not be able to celebrate the festival as it is falling on a Monday.”
As if confirming this, Palash Tiwari, 23, a Dahisar resident said, “I will be busy with work on Monday, which is why I decided not to purchase and fly kites this time.”
Animal activists said fewer people will fly kites this time around because they are more aware of how many birds are injured during the festival.
“Usually, many injured birds are brought to us a few days before Sankranti, but this time, we have seen only 40 cases so far. More people are opting not to fly kites this time,” said Dr Darshan Kakade, a veterinarian who has been volunteering for bird rescue efforts for the past three years.