SC refuses to lift ban on ‘manja’ ahead of kite-flying festival

RSTV Bureau
FIle photo of a man flying kites during the festival of Uttarayan in Gujarat. (PTI)

FIle photo of a man flying kites during the festival of Uttarayan in Gujarat. (PTI)

The interim ban by National Green Tribunal (NGT) on the glass-coated thread, manja, used for flying kites will continue as the Supreme Court refused to lift it on Friday.

However, the bench comprising of Justices M B Lokur and P C Panth said the petitioners, who were a group of traders from Gujarat, can move NGT for appropriate relief.

The petitioners had moved the apex court for lifting of the interim ban on the thread imposed by the green tribunal on December 14, last year.

The bench said that since the thread was glass-coated, it could be bad for animals and birds.

The counsel appearing for the traders argued that ‘manja’ was being used for threads for decades and there was never any issue with regard to them posing a threat to humans, animals and birds.

NGT, while banning manja last year, had said that the string, coated with glass and metal powder, posed a threat to the environment.

Amritsar: A worker prepares coloured kite strings ahead of the Lohri festival in Amritsar on Tuesday. PTI Photo

Amritsar: A worker prepares coloured kite strings ahead of the Lohri festival in Amritsar on Tuesday. PTI Photo

The green panel had said the ban order would apply to nylon, Chinese and cotton manja coated with glass and directed the Manja Association of India to submit report to Central Pollution Control Board on the harmful effects of kite strings.

The tribunal had earlier issued notices to all state governments and sought their response on the plea of animal rights body ‘People for Ethical Treatment of Animals’ (PETA) on the matter.

In its petition, PETA said that ‘manja’ did pose a grave threat to humans and animals as every year a number of deaths were caused by it.

“To increase the chances of being able to cut as many kites as possible, kite strings are made deliberately sharp with churned glass, metals and other materials in order to make them razor sharp to cut through other persons’ kite strings,” PETA had said.

‘Manja’ also posed a huge threat when it came into contact with live overhead electric wires, leading to grid failure, PETA had said.

“Due to ‘manja’ being coated with glass, metals and other sharp material, these strings act as good conductors of electricity, increasing the probability of detached manja strings stuck in power lines, electrocuting kite flyers and passers-by coming into contact with these strings,” it had said.

PETA had also claimed that minor children who were engaged by the cottage industry for the manufacture of ‘manja’, caused them respiratory problems as they inhaled harmful substances.

(With inputs from PTI)