Mumbai: Makar Sankranti is a festival of colourful kites and enthusiasts flying them all around the country.
But there is more to it than just fun, a not so bright side after all. During this revelry, hundreds of birds especially pigeons are either killed or severely injured because of the thread or manja that is used to fly these kites.
The Bombay Society for the Prevention of Curelty to Animals (BSPCA) has said that the uses of glass-coated threads are mainly responsible for this.
"Presently they are using glass coated thread that can cause serious injury like fracture, and due to the cartilageous body. It’s like cutting the body, and the birds are entangled," said BSPCA Secretary Lt Col (Dr) J C Khanna.
The fates of the birds fail to move the kite flyers. But for them kite flying is a war and must be fought with the weapons at hand – the manja.
And it’s not just the birds that are at a risk – in the midst of enjoying the festive atmosphere, you may be putting yourself at risk while flying kites near high-voltage wires.
So Corporates like Reliance Energy are now informing the public about the dangers of electrocution.
"The manjas entangled on high voltage wires are bad conductors and when people try to retrieve kites, they may get electrocuted," said Reliance Energy Senior Vice-President (Commercial) R R Mehta.
Meanwhile activists around the city are taking extra measures to set up booths in key areas to provide these birds with quick help if not anything else.
"We send our ambulances to town areas when there's any information about injured pigeons and birds and treat them immediately," BSPCA Animal Welfare Officer Suresh Kadam.
Even as you enjoy the festivities of Makar Sankranti this year, spare a thought for the feathered friends. If you see an injured bird, report it to the nearest animal rights group.