With Sankranti around, danger of manja looms large

Alpana Bhartia: With Sankranti around, danger of manja looms large

While Sankranti is a time when the popularity of kite-flying picks up, it is also a time when animal and avian welfare organizations in Bengaluru receive most number of bird rescue calls.

Despite a ban on the use of manja that has a glass coating and is imported from China, the practice continues. According to Avian and Reptile Rehabilitation Trust in Horamavu, there has been an increase in number of rescues of birds entangled in manja in Bengaluru in the last few months. In November 2017, the team rescued 27 birds from manja while in December, 31 were rescued.

In the first six days of January, 10 ‘manja rescues’ were conducted. These figures only represent East and North Bengaluru, where the Trust operates. The numbers could be higher, as many cases go unreported, and bird deaths are not recorded, say volunteers.

“Flying kites is not a problem. It is the string used that is a danger to birds. Manja gets entangled on trees and turns into bird traps. There is a lot of discarded manja out there. It does not degrade easily. Though normal thread can also pose a problem, it is not as harmful,” said Jayanthi Kallam, co-founder of the trust.

Non-governmental organization People for Animals (PfA) gets more calls in January. “The number of rescues go up during the breeding and hatching season – November and March. Fledglings face the greatest risks during the kite-flying season,” said Alpana Bhartia, founder-trustee, PfA.

Most of the rescued birds during this season are kites, crows and owls.

Most suffer severe injuries to the extent that they can never fly again.

Ban has not worked

Experts say that the ban has been ineffective as manja imported from China has been replaced by different varieties called ‘desi manja.’ Strings made of nylon and plastic are equally sharp and can cause bird fatalities.

Animal welfare organizations are trying to create awareness against the use of manja. The Trust has launched a social media campaign. PfA also conducts events and campaigns during Sankranti.

A bird-friendly festival

The Rotary Bangalore Lakeside will be organizing the third edition of the Bengaluru Kite Festival on January 21 at the BBMP Playground in HSR Layout. “It is an eco-friendly festival and we ensure that no harm is done to birds or the environment. Visitors must buy the kite kit from us, which has paper kite and a cotton thread,” said Nabin Roy, club member. Last year’s festival saw over 9,000 participants and the club expects the number to go up to 15,000 this year. “The proceeds from sales of the kite kit will be used to fund our programmes in rural Karnataka,” Mr. Roy added.


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Alpana Bhartia: Animal Cruelty Should be Taken More Seriously

UK strengthens animal cruelty laws. Animal lover Alpana Bhartia wants a similar framework in India.

While the United Kingdom has strengthened its already stringent laws against animal abuse, India will fine you a small amount. Alpana Bhartia, the co-founder of People for Animals (Bangalore), calls it a joke and it surely looks like one. The cost of an innocent and lovable creature’s life is as low as Rs 50 in the land where the cow is worshiped.

The Bangalore woman, who murdered eight helpless puppies while their mother kept crying, got off easy. A question rises, why are human lives not equal to animal lives? Why can’t the killing of an animal be treated as murder? We are not even at the top of the food chain!

Animal Cruelty Should be Taken More Seriously

Animal Cruelty Should be Taken More Seriously

The United Kingdom recently amended its animal cruelty law. The penalty of ‘insignificant’ abuse has been increased to five years in prison. In India, the penalty for torture and murder of hapless animals can go up to only three months. Sometimes you’ll only incur a fine between Rs 25 and Rs 100. Cows are the exception here. In the recent past, self-proclaimed gaurakshak shave lynched unarmed cow transporters to death.

The authorities are guilty in this matter too. An RTI application in Chennai revealed the callous euthanization of over 2,800 stray dogs. The screening process of stray dogs is sketchy enough to call it a mass-murder. The rule 9 of the Animal Birth Control Rules (Dogs), 2001, allows this Nazi move. Had the authorities actually invested time and money in the care of the dogs, they could have survived. Alpana Bhartia suggests such dogs should be open to adoption after adequate medical attention and affection is given to them.

“Our country needs a revolution of sorts to bring awareness. Instead of gimmicks, we need animal lovers to take an initiative against such abusers and expose them”, states Alpana Bhartia, while talking about what’s the need of the hour.


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Animal shelters doing a commendable work, reckons Alpana Bhartia, a member of PFA

We often ignore the sufferings of animals, who are repeatedly bearing the brunt of our careless attitude towards Nature. Alpana Bhartia, a member of PFA (People for Animals) NGO, which works for the rescue and rehabilitation of animals and birds, says that it is our responsibility to end the sufferings and miseries of these animals.

At present, a lot of animals are being injured and tortured frequently. People are using them in circuses, putting them in cages and using them for their own benefit. But, in recent times, there has been a rise in the number of organizations which have come forward to help these animals. A member of one such organization, Alpana Bhartia is happy with the efforts put in by animal shelters across the country and hopes that they continue to put in the hard yards.

Animal shelters and NGOs across the country have been running a number of campaigns across India to educate people about the malpractices against animals and birds. A lot of seminars are conducted in various cities to bring this issue to the fore.

Apart from spreading awareness, these NGOs are actively rescuing injured animals, and ensuring their complete rehabilitation. Sometimes our own activities are causing injuries to these animals. But organizations like PFA have changed the scenario to quite an extent.

However, there are some issues faced by these rescuers themselves. One cannot overlook the need of funds. The requirement of funds keeps increasing with every day, and it is very important for these shelters to arrange money in advance. According to Alpana Bhartia, apart from funds, one of the major issues faced by these shelters is the continuity of volunteers. The network of volunteers keeps changing, as majority of them move on with their lives after spending some time with the organization.

In spite of all these problems, these organizations are doing a commendable job. A lot of animals are treated by these shelters daily. They have shared phone numbers for emergency cases and have their own network of logistics to bring these distressed and injured animals to the shelters.

Alpana Bhartia, an active member of PFA, believes that the network of these shelters can expand if people come forward and lend a helping hand to these NGOs for the betterment of our society.