National Green Tribunal has sought information on various orders passed by high courts and notifications issued by state governments on banning or restricting the use of glass-coated ‘manja’ (strings) for flying kites across the country.
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Swatanter Kumar issued notices to all the state governments and sought their response on the plea of animal rights body People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) on the matter.
“After having heard the counsel appearing for the parties, we direct that notice be issued to all the state governments through their resident commissioners at New Delhi.
“Let orders passed by various High Courts of the country and notification issued by the respective state governments if any, be placed on record,” the bench said and posted the matter for further hearing on October 20.
In its petition, PETA has contended that ‘manja’, sharp string coated with glass and metals used to fly kites, posed 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.
“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 had alleged.
The petition had said ‘manja’ posed a huge threat when it came 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 had 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 had also referred to various orders, including the November 2015 order of the Allahabad High Court which banned the use of Chinese manja in entire Uttar Pradesh and sought ban on “manufacture, import, sale and use” of these strings.