Three separate accidents caused by Chinese kite strings coated with glass or metal were reported from the Maa flyover in Kolkata on Thursday, said police.
A biker’s face was slashed by a kite string on the flyover, while he was en route to EM Bypass, on Thursday afternoon. Hours after this incident, another biker received injuries to his neck while travelling from Park Circus to sector 5 via the flyover. The third incident was reported at around 5 pm, when a kite string got entangled in the wheels of a bike.
Last year at least six such incidents were reported on the Maa and Chingrighata flyovers in Kolkata. While police have been conducting awareness campaigns against the use of Chinese manjha, regular commuters on the bridge said they believed only a complete ban on kites and strict action could prevent such incidents.
In areas such as Topsia and Tangra, police have been alerting people using loudspeakers against buying glass-coated or metal-coated kite strings, said sources. They also said such incidents mostly occur on bridge no. 4, which falls under Karaya police station.
“The area close to seven-point crossing in Park Circus is the most vulnerable. We often search areas to identify people who sell these kites. These are basically manjha made by crushing glass into powder and then sticking the powder to the thread. It is very challenging to identify the person or predict when such incidents will take place,” said a local police officer.
As a preventive measure, police have advised people to use helmets that cover their entire face when using two-wheelers.
A kite string seller, Babu Das, said, “There is no clear definition of Chinese manjha. At least, we don’t know. We sell what is in demand. This is our peak season, with festivals like Republic Day and Makar Sankranti coming up.”
Sources said the police are working on a permanent solution to the problem. Among the ideas reportedly being discussed are a proposal to put up a net or wire fence above the guard rails of flyovers. “We have also been telling people to use open fields and other locations (for kite flying) instead of their rooftops,” said a police officer.