Indore (Madhya Pradesh): The video and photos of a bloodied road of Zero overbridge of Ujjain, blood spattered on the roads and a Scooty, lying scattered after the strangulation of young college student Neha Anjana by Chinese manjha has shaken the minds and souls of residents of the state and elsewhere in the country. The incident happened last Saturday (January 15) on Makar Sankranti day. The mind-blowing incident has exposed not only the lust for money of certain greedy importers-businessmen, who are involved in the trade of the banned Chinese manjha in the guise of ‘nylon thread for industrial purpose’, but also the total apathy of the administration in checking such situations.
Owing to the social media, the death of Ujjain’s Neha has become the talk of the town, region and state. But there are countless incidents of deaths of innocent birds, which casually surface on social media.
Neha’s death raises various questions on the Chinese manjha. Free Press tried to investigate the whole trade of Chinese manjha. And the story is not different from the story of Chinese crackers as the imports of those are also banned in the country.
Let’s talk legal aspects
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) banned production, storage, sale and use of the Chinese manjha in 2016. Its violation attracts a jail term of up to 5 years and a fine of up to Rs 1 lakh. In the case of Khalid Ashraf and Union of India at the principal Bench of the NGT’s Central Pollution Control Board it was stated that all the State Pollution Control Boards had placed a ban on the manjha, including Madhya Pradesh on May 15, 2020. Later, the Government of India also put it in the list of banned items.
What is on the ground?
Despite the ban, the Chinese manjha is easily available at the kite and manjha selling markets of the city, such as Kachhi Mohalla, Doulat Ganj and other small shops, although the indigenous manjha, which is commonly known as ‘Bareilly manjha’, which is made of cotton, is also available. Earlier, the logo of a dragon was imprinted on the Chinese manjha, but nothing is now printed on it. “Fundamentally, the price of a ‘chhakri’ of the Chinese manjha and Bareilly manjha is Rs 200, but the Chinese manjha comes at double the quantity at the same price. Also, its strength gives it an edge over the Bareilly manjha,” says Sabir Ali, a trader of the Kachhi Mohalla. Video coach buses are the primary means of transportation of such manjha being operated from the import destinations, he adds
How does import happen?
‘Since the import of Chinese manjha is banned in the country, it cannot be imported under the same name. A cartel of certain importers is involved in importing the item in a legal manner. It is being imported from Chinese in the guise of ‘nylon thread for industrial use’ marked on the containers and diverted for use as manjha,’ said two top officers of Central government agencies looking after import trade
‘It’s quite unfortunate that, ever since the NGT and the Government of India banned Chinese manjha, it has become the responsibility of the central and state agencies to check legal imports. The government should also frame laws to check imports randomly’ — Sunil G Khandelwal, CA, former chairman of Indore Branch of ICAI.