The razor-sharp glass-coated nylon manjha poses a danger to birds, passersby, motorcyclists as it can cut through flesh.
Kite enthusiasts know they should not be buying banned nylon manjha, but secretly go to shops tucked away in alleyways, where this product is sold. “Nylon manjha is sharp and coated with finely powdered glass or metal particles and help us win kite-flying contests. Regular manjha is no fun,” says a teenager, who did not want to be named, at Raviwar Peth.
The sharp nylon manjha sees a spike in demand every year despite a 2017 nationwide ban issued by the National Green Tribunal on their manufacture, import or sale. While these nylon manjhas are not sold openly, a number of children and youngsters hint towards bylanes where a bundle of the banned string is available for Rs 300. The shopkeepers say it is leftover stock from several years ago.
Regular kite enthusiasts, who crowded the markets on Tuesday, to shop for kites and accessories, felt the absence of nylon or Chinese manjha as well, though they were not inclined towards buying the illegal stock.
The razor-sharp glass-coated nylon manjha poses a danger to birds, passersby, motorcyclists as it can cut through flesh. A 26-year-old woman was killed after a manjha slit her throat near Kasarwadi in 2018. The presence of metal particles over it could cause electrocution if it comes in contact with live overhead electric wires. As an alternative, some shopkeepers now sell coloured cotton manjha that is relatively safer. Retailers turned down requests of customers demanding nylon manjha.
Kaif Shaikh, a kite vendor, said the available cotton manjha was safer.
“I have seen a video where a person was instantly killed as the manjha slit his neck. When customers ask for nylon manjha, I show them the video and clarify its unavailability.”
Santosh Maske, a customer encouraging the ban, said everyone should avoid nylon manjha. “Parents should warn their children about the dangers of using it,” he added.