Following an appeal by the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) to the forest departments of every state and union territory to ban the sharp forms of manja thread used in kite-flying, Punjab forest minister Surjit Jyani has called a meeting on September 5 to discuss the enforcement of the ban.
A letter by AWBI (a statutory body under the ministry of environment and forests) secretary S Uma Rani issued last week had stated that the sale and use of glass coated, metal plastic or other cutting forms of manja must be banned by every state.
"Manja is deadly for thousands of pigeons, crows, owls, kites, vultures and other birds, including those whose species are endangered, who get slashed, wounded or killed when they become entangled in the manja…. The manja used in kite-flying competition is gummed and coated with powered and finely crushed glass or made sharp using other materials," the letter said, adding that the way in which birds die after being gashed by manja violates the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.
Gujarat, Mumbai, Chennai and the Punjab province of Pakistan have already banned the manja, the letter said.
When contacted, Jyani, who initially expressed ignorance of the letter, later said a meeting would be called on September 5 with the district forest departments to discuss the ban.
Sandeep K Jain, special officer at Wildlife Crime Control Bureau, who had also written a letter to AWBI about the harmful kite strings, said he hoped for better conditions for birds for the coming festival of Lohri, if not the festival of Rakhi that too sees a lot of kite flying.
In Ludhiana, a ban on the sale and use of China-made plastic kite strings is being enforced for the last two years under Section 144 of the CrPC for two months around Lohri.