FOLLOWING a police order banning nylon kite threads for 30 days in light of Makar Sankranti, several kite shop owners in the city who had to stop selling the cheaper nylon and synthetic threads, reported losses.
Most kite dealers sell cotton threads which are much more expensive and thus discourage customers from buying. Shops have been selling cotton threads, most of which comes from Bareilly in Uttar Pradesh.
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“It is a compulsion and we cannot do anything. The cotton maanjha comes at four times the price of a nylon one. We have not been selling nylon threads for the past three days since the order, and business has gone down because of it. I had to sell a stock of nylon threads worth Rs 40,000 at the rate of Rs 10,000. Usually, I would have sold that stock at Rs 1 lakh for profit,” said Ahmed Kazi, who owns Lucky Bharat Kites in Bandra West. His grandfather started the shop over 50 years ago.
“Many people came to buy kites on Saturday for Makar Sankranti but left once they learned that we did not have nylon maanjha. Kids who are poor do not have the money for cotton threads. A 1,000-metre cotton thread costs Rs 300 whereas Nylon costs only Rs 80, he added. According to Kazi, nylon threads are more durable than cotton ones and hence are the preferred choice for kite-fighters too.
Indian Fighter Kites, another shop in Bandra West, also saw a reduced number of customers on Sankranti. “Kids buy nylon threads as they are cheap. None of them came to buy kites on Sankranti. Most customers are older kite hobbyists and connoisseurs and they mostly prefer cotton threads,” said Adnan Momin, who works at the shop.
Some kite traders were not even aware of the police order banning nylon threads. The order had been issued by Mumbai Police on January 12 and will be in effect till February 10. “We did not know about the order. We did not receive any circular from the local police station. They should do that. Orders are passed but the implementation process is not followed properly. Unaware people get caught and then suffer,” said 49-year-old Naeem Shamsi who owns MK Kites in Andheri.
“We stopped selling nylon threads at least three years ago during a similar order. We get cotton threads made by our workers in Bareilly. It is more expensive and since then our business has dipped slightly,” he said.