Kite flying: India

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This is a collection of articles archived for the excellence of their content.


Human casualties


See graphic:

Casualties in the sport of kite flying, July-August 2016

Casualties in the sport of kite flying, July-August 2016; Graphic courtesy: The Times of India, August 18, 2016


Kite-related accidents kill 16 in Guj in 2 days, January 16, 2018: The Times of India

At least 16 people died in various kite-flying related accidents across the state on Uttarayan. While most of them died after their throats were slit by the glasscoated manja, others took place when the victims tried to catch kites, falling from terrace and electrocution.

Apart from these tragedies at least six flights were delayed after Chinese latterns, kites and traditional tukkals were found on Ahmedabad runway. The airport authorities had to ensure that the approach of funnel of runway was clear before they allowed any flight to take off or land.

The deaths were reported from Rajkot, Morbi, Ahmedabad, Vadodara city, Khambhat, Mehsana, Surat, Bharuch and Banaskantha. The 108 ambulance service also received 35 calls about Uttarayan-related accidents in two days. In Rajkot, a person was crushed under the train when he ran on the tracks to catch a kite. A 45-year-old person died after falling off the terrace while flying kites while a 14-year-old was electrocuted while trying to remove the kite stuck in a wire.

2019/ Delhi

August 31, 2019: The Times of India

Mãnjhã- related accidents in 2019/ Delhi
From: August 31, 2019: The Times of India

At the colourful shop stacked with paper kites and thread spools in the Walled City’s Lal Kuan, 13-year old Mohammad Irfan demands ‘pakka manjha’. “Saddi is used by kids,” the teenager, himself a kid, says of the regular cotton thread. “You need stronger material to win in patangbazi.” He doesn’t seem to know — or perhaps asks for it fully knowing — that it’s now over two years since the National Green Tribunal banned the use of Chinese manjha, the synthetic thread coated with glass and abrasives.

Competitive kite-flying in Old Delhi soars in the weeks leading to Independence Day. Manjha is essential for the objective of cutting the strings of rival kite-flyers. But both NGT and Delhi government have prohibited the sale and use of Chinese manjha. Many shops, accordingly, have begun to stock treated cotton thread, but as the injury to a motorcyclist in Shahdara on Thursday showed, there still is a demand for the banned nylon stuff that sellers are quietly fulfilling for customers.

At Lal Kuan, the hub of the capital’s kite wholesale trade, Rahul Kumar, a third generation kite and thread seller, reveals that during the off season only a dozen kite shops operate, but over 50 shops come up in the kite-flying season. “The business is actually dying,” sighed Kumar. “I am perhaps the last generation in this business. Kids now play PUBG instead of flying kites.” It is perhaps to make the most of the season that leads unscrupulous sellers to meet the demand for Chinese manjha.

Chinese manjha is not actually manufactured in China, but in the neighbouring state. A seller explained that the epithet was impressionistic of the low price of this variety of kite string. Traditional cotton threads 5,000 metres long cost around Rs 1,000, but the so-called Chinese version is priced at just Rs 250-300.

Difficult to find for the casual buyer perhaps, but for an ardent air dueller there are sellers ready to bend the law. The trade has gone underground after repeated raids by police and the North Delhi Municipal Corporation, but shops can direct insistent buyers to the handful of stores that still stock the prohibited item. On July 29, a raid on one such store unearthed a big volume of Chinese manjha, leading to the arrest of the shop owner. Over 28 cases of this sort have been registered this year, most in outer Delhi. Wary of the law, one Lal Kuan seller declared, “I won’t sell something that can cost someone his life though there are some who do oblige customers they know.” Others, given the negative publicity around the razor sharp string, even refused to acknowledge its existence in the area.

The dangers of using the glass-coated manjha are underlined by frequent news about two-wheeler riders, animals and birds being lacerated by the string. Sunil Jain, honorary secretary of Shri Digambar Jain Lal Mandir Charity Bird Hospital in Chandni Chowk, said on Friday alone the hospital got 40 birds injured by the insidious kite string. In August, over 1,000 birds were treated for cuts. “We find pieces of glass and manjha threads stuck in the wings or wrapped around the neck of the birds,” Jain said.

Thursday’s injury to the motorcyclist in east Delhi has provoked Delhi assembly speaker Ram Niwas Goyal into directing Delhi’s chief secretary, Vijay Kumar Dev, to get to the bottom of the continuing defiance of the ban by kite stores.

Mãnjhã- related hazards

NGT bans on non-biodegradable mãnjhã

Child labour used for making manjha: Peta|Jul 12 2017: The Times of India (Delhi)

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) imposed on Tuesday a complete ban on manjha (kite string) made of nylon or any non-biodegradable synthetic material as it poses a threat to humans, birds and animals and is harmful for the environment. A bench led by NGT chief Justice (retd) Swatanter Kumar directed all states to prohibit the “manufacture, sale, storage, purchase and use“ of such manjha made of nylon or any non-biodegradable synthetic material.The green panel also clarified that the ban order would apply to nylon, Chinese and cotton manjha coated with glass as it was harmful for both humans and birds.

“There shall be a total ban on the manjha or thread for kite-flying which is made of nylon or any other synthetic material andor is coated with synthetic substance and is non-biodegradable,“ the green bench said in its order. It added that all states had the duty to inform the dis trict magistrate to enforce the ban with immediate effect and execute the order of the tribunal. “All chief secretaries of states and Union territories are directed to enforce prohibition on manufacture and use of synthetic manjha nylon thread for flying kites throughout the country ,“ the bench added.

The judgment came on a plea which had been filed by animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) and others which had argued that such kinds of manjha posed a threat to the lives of humans, animals and even birds with a number of deaths reported each year. “Due to `manjha' being coated with glass, metals and other sharp material, these strings act as good con ductors of electricity , increasing the probability of detached manjha strings stuck in power lines electrocuting kite flyers and passers-by coming into contact with these strings,“ the petition submitted by Peta had said.

2014-2016: some deaths caused by mãnjhãs.

In the petition, Peta had said that children were engaged by the cottage industry for the manufacture of manjha which was causing respiratory problems as they were inhaling harmful substances hazardous to their health.

Earlier in December, the green panel had imposed an interim nationwide ban on the use of glass-coated manjha, citing that it posed a threat to the environment. The bench had said the ban would apply to nylon, Chinese and cotton manjha coated with glass and had directed the Manja Association of India to submit a report to CPCB on its harmful effects.

Birds killed in 2016, 2017

Jasjeev Gandhio, August 17, 2017: The Times of India

Over 600 birds injured by kite strings, 100 more than last year

Close to 600 birds were reported injured at the Charity Bird Hospital on Tuesday after people took to kite-flying to celebrate Independence Day . The hospital says numbers have shot up from last year, despite a ban on nylon and synthetic manjha in the capital.

“We have seen a slight increase in these numbers from last year despite the manjha ban,“ said Sunil Jain, manager at the facility in Chandni Chowk run by Digamber Jain community . “Last year about 500 birds were reported injured, but this year the number is between 550 to 600. About 100 of these birds died, while the remaining are badly injured.“ He said pieces of manjha were found to have caused injuries in a number of these birds. The string is dangerous for birds as it cuts through their bones and wings, causing a painful death in most cases.

“We found pieces of manjha and glass shards in the necks and wings of these injured birds. The ban has had no effect,“ said Jain.

The birds at the hospital -ranging from peacocks to pigeons and mynahs -are first treated by removing the manjha, followed by applying ointments on the wounds before bandaging them. The birds are then kept in a separate area until they heal.

The People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), meanwhile, received over 75 calls on Tuesday alone reporting injuries to birds due to kite flying. PETA officials said the actual number of injuries and deaths will be much higher.

“Glass-coated manjha is dangerous both for humans and for wildlife. Until there is a complete ban on all forms of manjha including the glass-coated one popularly known as Bareilly ka manjha, casualties to birds and humans will continue to take place,“ said Nikunj Sharma, head of public policy , PETA India.

See also

Kite flying: Pakistan

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