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Manja ban: Fewer birds injured across Mumbai during Makar Sankranti

73 birds were treated at the BSPCA hospital this year; number was 130 in 2016

mumbai Updated: Jan 15, 2018 10:54 IST
Yesha Kotak
Yesha Kotak
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,Manja,ban
An injured pigeon being treated at a bird camp organised by Vile Parle Jain Sangh, near Jain temple in Vile Parle (East), on Sunday.(Satish Bate/HT)

Almost six months after the National Green Tribunal (NGT) banned manja made of nylon or other synthetic materials, the number of birds injuries reported during Makar Sankranti have fallen drastically. The manja, which is coated with powdered glass, is sharp enough to inflict grievous injuries or even kill birds.

Colonel (retd) JC Khanna, secretary, Bombay Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), said the hospital treated 73 injured birds on Sunday. The injured birds included 62 pigeons, seven kites, one heron and three parakeets . The number was 130 last year. He added that 52 birds were treated at the accident sites.

“It is mostly the pigeons, who get injured during the festival. The wounds inflected by cotton or nylon manja are similar. Both are harmful for humans and animals,” Khanna said.

Debashish Majumdar, vice president of the Thane SPCA, said the hospital has not treated animals injured by manja.

Even the kit sellers welcomed the NGT move to ban the Chinese manja, saying that local vendors benefitted from the move.

“When Chinese manja was available, buyers would purchase only one [spool of] manja for the entire season. But now the ones made locally will sell more,” said Anisa Salim, owner, King Kites Centre.

Salim said use of nylon and synthetic manja had affected workers in the rural parts. He added that number of people making kites in Maharashtra has increased in the last few years.

A few sellers in Bandra market said nylon manjas were being sold despite ban. But the number of buyers had fallen this year because of the Goods and Service Tax (GST).

“The sale this year is probably the lowest in the past 10 years, this is owing to 5% GST imposed on kites and manjas. Also, urbanisation is another reason for the fall in sales,” said Zaiba Kazi, owner, Lucky Bharat Kites.

Meet Ashar, emergency response co-ordinator at PETA (India), claimed the number of injuries had not reduced and nylon manjas were sold openly across India.

“There is no way to determine whether the manja is made from cotton or nylon. This prevents law enforcement agencies to book offenders after they confiscate manja,” Ashar said.

Ashar added that PETA has approached the Supreme Court and demanded a blanket ban on manjas — including that made from cotton.

First Published: Jan 14, 2018 22:41 IST