NASHIK — The Maharashtra government has issued a circular banning the sale and use of sharp kite strings called 'manja' which injure and kill birds as well as people.
The circular under Section 5 of Environment (Protection) Act 1986 was issued after a petition seeking a ban on 'manja' was filed by a citizen in the Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court, according to a People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India release issued here today.
The Nagpur-based organisation People for Animals are a party in the matter.
Previously, after receiving appeals from PETA India, the government advisory body Animal Welfare Board of India had urged states and union territories to ban 'manja', while the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change had sent letters urging them to address the issue, the PETA release said.
According to PETA, the Maharashtra government order states, "The public is not allowed to use pucca threads, commonly known as nylon manja which is made of plastic or any such synthetic material and is likely to cause grievous injury to birds as well as humans during kite-flying".
"Wholesalers dealing in nylon manja will be told well in advance not to stock or sell it during the Makar Sankranti festival. Nylon manja threads are not to be used because they have adverse effects on soil, waterways and cattle populations since they are non-biodegradable and cause immense injury to animals," the release said.
"The use of nylon manja threads often results in flash over on power lines and substations, causing power interruptions to consumers, straining and damaging electrical assets and causing accidents, injuries and loss of life as well as damage to environment and therefore, such threads are not to be used for kite-flying," the PETA release said.
"The Maharashtra government's decision to address the 'manja' menace is a huge step towards saving the lives of countless birds and many people," PETA India campaign strategist Nikunj Sharma said in the release.
"PETA is now urging other states and union territories to follow Maharashtra's example to ban the sale and use of all forms of sharp 'manja' and encourage people to switch to cotton strings to fly kites for the safety of birds, humans and the environment," the release said.
Incidentally, the ban on 'manja' has been widely supported.
Recently, Nagpur MLA Milind Mane had written a letter calling for a complete ban on all types of 'manja', saying, "During my medical career of 22 years, I have treated many cases of humans injured by manja".
Similarly in Nagpur, Orange City Cable Operators Welfare Association wrote a letter asking for a complete ban on 'manja' as it cuts cables, causing financial losses and inconveniencing customers.
PETA had run an extensive campaign for nationwide ban on 'manja' use, after which Mumbai became the first city in Maharashtra to ban its sale and use in 2009.