PUNE: Following the death of Sakal employee Suvarna Manohar Mujumdar (46) on February 7 after getting cut by a banned kite string (manja), the issue of illegal use of manja has come to the fore again.
Despite a ban, manja is freely available in the Pune market. Sakal Times team, posing as customers seeking manja, went to various places in the city where there are several shops selling the banned manja.
The results were shocking. The team found that some vendors in Bhavani Peth and Kashewadi are still illegally selling the nylon and Chinese kite string but only to people they are acquainted with.
After the team reached Bhavani Peth, the local children said there was a shop owner Hasanbhai Patangwala near Padamji Police Chowki who used to sell nylon and Chinese manja till recently. When the team approached Hasanbhai, he said he used to keep the nylon and Chinese manja.
“Till a few days ago I had 7,000 metres of nylon manja with me at a price of Rs 900. But I stopped selling it after the police patrolling in the area intensified,” he said.
He directed the team to Anwar, a resident at Kashewadi who makes nylon manja at his place and sells it illegally without any fear of the police. When the team approached Anwar, he said, “Today morning, the police had kept me on remand for four hours for selling nylon manja and thus, I have stopped selling it now.”
However, the team was suspicious about what he said, so they waited. After some time, it was noticed that he was selling it openly but only to people whom he knew.
When a child from the same area asked Anwar if he had Chinese manja, he abused him and angrily denied it when he saw that the team was still waiting near his shop. It was evident through his actions that Anwar was selling it only to familiar faces. If unknown persons approach him, he denies he is selling manja.
According to Sriraj Tamboli, kite and manja seller at Bhori Ali, Bhavani Peth there was a heavy police round-up in the area with a eye on manja sellers. He said, “The police were checking at each and every shop to find out if anyone has stock of nylon or Chinese manja with them.”