Animal rights body PETA has sought an immediate nationwide ban on ‘manja’, the use of glass-coated (strings) for flying kites for causing death and damage, leading the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Tuesday to seek the government’s response on the matter.
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Swatanter Kumar issued notice to Ministries of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, Home Affairs, Commerce & Industry and Power and the Animal Welfare Board of India who were made parties in the case by the petitioner, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).
The matter has been put up for further hearing on 6 September.
In its petition, PETA contended that ‘manja’, sharp string coated with glass and metals, posed a grave threat to humans and animals as every year a number of deaths were caused due to the deadly string.
“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.
“These strings not only cut through other kite strings when in the air, but are also quite capable of cutting through the skin of animals and human beings, thereby severely
injuring and even killing them,” PETA alleged.
The petition, filed through advocate Shadan Farasat, said ‘manja’ posed a huge threat when it comes into contact with live overhead electric wires, leading to grid failure.
“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 said.
PETA also said minor children were engaged by the cottage industry for the manufacture of ‘manja’ which caused respiratory problems among them as they inhaled harmful substances which were extremely detrimental to their health.
The plea has also referred to various orders, including the November 2015 order of the Allahabad High Court which banned the use of Chinese manja in the entire State of Uttar
Pradesh and sought ban on “manufacture, import, sale and use” of these strings.
The plea came in the backdrop of the tragic death of two children and a youth on the Independence Day after they were entangled by these killer strings.