The minister of state for textiles Santosh Kumar Gangwar seeks ban on its imports of Chinese manjha or kite string owing to concerns that the domestic small manufacturers in Bareilly , the nation’s largest kite string markets, may be hit hard.
Gangwar in his letter to counterpart Nirmala Sitharaman in the commerce ministry said that the nylon kite string from China is non-biodegradable and has rendered thousands of people jobless in this labour-intensive industry. The domestic manjha industry has been suffering due to wrong policies and that China had benefited from the situation. He has also raised safety concerns, claiming that the Chinese kite string is not electric shock proof and can cut through the body.
The minister has raised the issue before the onset of the festival season, which sees millions of Indians fly kites especially on Independence Day and Raksha Bandhan. Since the Chinese manjha are made of plastic and non-biodegradable, it does not get decomposed, due to which animals and birds get entangled and die each year.
The rise in cotton prices has also impacted the manjha market. Raw cotton has become over 20% costlier than it was in May last year.
The matter of kite string imports from China is being examined closely and the desired action will be taken shortly, said another government official. There should not be any problem in banning imports.
Cheap imports from China have flooded Indian markets over the years, contributing to the wide deficit of $36 billion between the two trading partners in 2013-14. Chinese manjha is already banned in Gujarat, a decision taken after it was seen as fatal for birds.
Earlier this year, sale of Chinese manjha was reported to have been banned in Varanasi ahead of Makar Sankranti after many complaints of accidents and deaths. The matter may also get the backing of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, who had said during his rally in Bareilly ahead of Lok Sabha elections that without the manjha of Bareilly, the kite of Gujarat cannot fly. Such is the bond.
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