Vikash Sharma

It is that period of the year ahead of Makar Sankranti when the skies in the twin cities of Cuttack and Bhubaneswar are dotted with kites. This year also things are no different.

Even though kite flying is a favourite pass time for the residents of Cuttack, it also poses threat to human lives owing to the use of ‘killer Chinese threads’ which are basically nylon threads and some are even coated with manja- powered glass.

Despite the ban, such deadly threads are easily available and sold in the markets. In a bid to put a check on the sale, the Commissionerate Police launched a crackdown and seized huge quantities of such dangerous manja thread following a raid in Cuttack.

“We have seized huge quantities of manja thread from a shop in Cuttack after tracking and surveillance under a special operation,” said Jatindra Nath Sethi, Inspector-in-charge of Purighat Police station.

It is pertinent to mention here that the Orissa High Court in 2016 had directed the Cuttack-Bhubaneswar police to maintain vigil on the sale and use of Chinese Manja threads and other Manja as they are dangerous to human beings, animals and birds.

A newly married youth, identified as Jayant Samal, died after his throat was slit by a banned glass-coated kite string (Manja) in Cuttack in 2021. Samal was on his way to his in-laws place on a bike along with his wife when the Manja string got entangled around his neck.

“We had not brought the manja thread for selling in the markets of Cuttack and Bhubaneswar as it is banned here. However, these stocks would have been sent to places like Angul, Keonjhar and Malkangiri as no such restriction has been clamped there,” said a trader.

The trader further claimed that all the stock that was seized by Commissionerate Police is of 2019 and was purchased by his late father.

ACP Amarendra Panda said, “These threads are dangerous for human lives. Such threads are specifically made for kite competition. We seized the stock after getting reliable inputs following a clandestine operation. Such threads are being brought from Kolkata.”

(Reported by Debasish Mohanty)