On the eve of the harvest festival Makar Sankaranti (known as pongal in South India), the Telangana Government banned the procurement and sale of 'Chinese manja' used for kite flying, the PTI reported.

This is what the Government Order said:

"Government, after careful examination of the matter and in exercise of the powers conferred under section 5 of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 hereby imposes complete ban on procuring, stocking, sale and use of nylon thread, which is commonly called as 'Chinese dor', or other synthetic (non- biodegradable) threads coated with glass or other harmful substances used for kite flying or other purposes and likely to cause grievous injury and inconvenience to animals, including birds as well as human beings during festivals or other occasions.".
A photograph showing a bird which got tangled due to the Chinese manja | Source: YouTube

The move has been the result of continued efforts from animal rights activists and officials from the Forest Department and Telangana State Biodiversity Board (TSBDB). In fact, the chief wildlife warden of Telangana personally wrote to the state government recommending the ban.

One of the activist groups campaigning for the ban was Humane Society International. Its manager C Samyukta, told The Hindu, "The ban is definitely going to make a positive difference in protecting birds. Made up of nylon and coated with glass, Chinese manja is extremely durable, sharp and easily cuts through the wings of birds, leaving most injured birds to suffer and die."

Kite flying is an integral part of some festivals in India | Source: PTI

Chinese manja is a synthetic thread which is coated with finely crushed glass, making it tensile and sharp. It poses serious threats to animals and birds even days after Sankranti as it is left hanging from rooftops and trees.

Sadly, despite a ban on it in several states, the manjha is easily available in markets.

(Feature image source: PTI)