Kite flying passion becoming a nightmare for Delhi discoms

Flying kites in itself is not the problem, it’s the metal coated thread or manjha which becomes a real threat


Photo: Hindustan Times
Photo: Hindustan Times

New Delhi: Come Independence Day and Delhi electricity consumers have another reason to worry. It’s not the increase in electricity demand over the weekend but the capital’s passion for kite flying.

While flying kites in itself is not the problem, it’s the metal coated thread or manjha which becomes a real threat. Being a good conductor of electricity, it causes outages and in some unfortunate cases deaths as well. And then there is the extra sharp thread from China; known for slicing veins, which has been causing harm to the birds and humans alike.

The issue has acquired grave proportions over the years. So much so that the power distribution companies, or discoms have been regularly issuing advisories before 15 August on avoiding flying kites near electric installations.

“Kite flying is an integral part of the Independence Day celebrations in India. The skies are dotted with innumerable kites flown by people — cutting across religions and regions — celebrating India’s freedom. Sometimes this otherwise celebratory activity can be hazardous, even fatal. The wide-spread use of metal coated manjha — being a good conductor of electricity — poses a great danger not only to the person flying the kite, but may also disrupt electricity supply of an area. Each year, there are several instances on both counts,” said BSES in a statement.

With large parts of the city being heavily congested and the electricity wires connecting households itself a maze; the problem gets particularly exacerbated in the Imperial city. Causing such tripping is a punishable offence under the Electricity Act and the Delhi Police Act. So is road rage under the Indian Penal Code. None of these laws seems to deter either the kite runners or the Road Runners.

“When these metal coated manjha comes in contact with a live overhead wire, it causes trippings, resulting in blackout of the area,” the BSES statement added with 20 kite-flying related large outages last year.

According to BSES; tripping of a single 33/66 KV line can disrupt power supply to over 10,000 consumers. Delhi has five discoms. They are BSES Rajdhani Power Ltd (BRPL), BSES Yamuna Power Ltd (BYPL), Tata Power Delhi Distribution Ltd (TPDPL), Military Engineering Services (for Delhi Cantonment) and the New Delhi Municipal Corporation. These distribution firms have a consumer base of around 4.231 million customers, with Delhi’s power demand in the region of around 5,000 megawatts (MW).

With electricity tariffs in the capital starting at Rs4 per unit for consumption of up to 200 units, going up to Rs5.80-5.90 per unit for 200-400 units, Rs7.30 per unit for 400-800 units and higher for more consumption; its denizens are awaiting their Independence Day gift by being spared an increase in electricity tariffs by the regulator.