Strings attached to Sankranti revelry

Manja abandoned across Hyderabad post Sankranti festiivities.

Manja abandoned across Hyderabad post Sankranti festiivities.

The ubiquitous presence of abandoned kites and manjas (threads) in public places is posing grave danger and problems to city residents, ranging between power interruptions and severe injuries.

Despite the Forest department’s assurance of effective control on sale and purchase of synthetic manja during this festive season, the nylon threads rolling about on the roads speak for their unbridled use.

Post the Sankranthi festival, the tangled manja is found lying on the roads and hanging from electrical poles almost everywhere. Almost invisible to walkers and vehicle riders, it is causing them to inadvertently trip over it or get seriously injured. A number of persons were injured, some of them severely, due to manja cuts on hands and necks.

Two bike riders from the city, who sustained serious injuries from kite manja, survived after undergoing complicated surgical procedures at two different corporate hospitals. Several other instances have not yet been reported.

“I had a close brush with the killer manja when I went jogging. Thankfully, I noticed it before the thread could cut my throat, and stopped it with my hands,” Ramakrishna, a regular jogger at LB Stadium, said.

The nylon thread poses another problem in its non-breakability, rendering it very difficult to dispose of or destroy. “Usually, when we find kite manja on the roads, we try to break them into pieces, to ensure that no harm comes in anybody’s way. But Chinese manja does not break with bare hands. I have seen scores of people trip over the thread, and animals getting entangled in it,” said Harinarayan, a shopkeeper in L.B. Nagar.

Social media platforms are abuzz with such instances and pictures of wounds caused by the Chinese manja. “Was lucky enough to be saved from throat slit due to Chinese manja on Saturday while travelling on 2 wheeler at Basheerbagh flyover, but my thumb got a deep cut in process to save my throat,” tweeted one Jeeten Agarwal, posting the picture of his bleeding thumb.

In another viral tweet, a named user Syed Kamran Hussain tagged the Minister for Municipal Administration and Urban Development K.T. Rama Rao, seeking restrictions on kite-flying especially on main roads.

He posted pictures of a deep gash on his throat which required multiple stitches, and said he had been injured on Shalibanda main road.

The National Green Tribunal, responding to a plea by animal rights organisations, had issued orders in 2017, prohibiting the manufacture, sale, storage, purchase and use of nylon and glass coated manjas, as they proved dangerous to birds, animals, and humans alike.

Other than issuing customary statements before Sankranti, urging public to report the sale of such manja, government agencies such as the police, Forest department and the Pollution Control Board have done next to nothing in enforcing the orders, as evident from the rampant use of the banned manja.

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Printable version | May 28, 2022 8:58:02 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/strings-attached-to-sankranti-revelry/article38284290.ece