Kite flying a menace for Metro services in Lucknow

Metallic kite threads or Chinese manjha entangled in overhead electrification disrupting power supply

The Lucknow Metro may have resumed operations after a long gap due to COVID-19 but kite flying, especially the Chinese manjha variety near its corridor, continues to act as a menace in its smooth operation.

In the latest incident, on September 14, the overhead electrification (OHE) of the Lucknow Metro got tripped near the Mawaiya station after getting entangled in a ‘Chinese’ manjha of a kite. This disrupted electrical supply for a few moments before it was restored, said an official.

However, this was not a one-off. A spokesperson for the Uttar Pradesh Metro Rail Corporation said kite flying had become rampant in some areas close to the Metro corridor during the lockdown leading to many such incidents of tripping of the OHE in recent past.

The flying of kites near the corridor can cause short-circuit of live 25000 volt overhead power supply wires, “causing serious damage” to the Metro property and at the same time putting the kite flyers at risk of electrocution if the manjha has metal in it, the Metro said.

Five FIRs

Panchanan Mishra, Deputy General Manager, Public Relations, of the Metro, said that in 2019-20 five FIRs had been registered against people in breakdowns connected with kite flying.

“Whenever a metallic kite thread or Chinese manjha comes [in contact with the] OHE it short circuits with 25000 volt OHE supply and disruption in supply occurs instantaneously,” said Mr. Mishra.

This disruption causes many of the trains in line to stop for some minutes before resumption of the OHE supply.

“Sometimes due to short circuit the catenary strands are broken partially or fully which may create total disruption in metro train operation and it may take half an hour or more for normalisation of the supply,” said Mr. Mishra.

The kites being used in the areas observed by the Metro officials have long steel wire knits, like barbed wires, with sharp hooks at every six inches in addition to ‘Chinese’ strings, the Metro said.

HC order

The Allahabad High Court had in 2015 banned the sale of ‘Chinese’ manjha in Uttar Pradesh after several persons and animals were severely injured after being slit by it.

In April, officials lodged an FIR against unknown persons after an OHE near the Badshahnagar station had been seriously damaged by these long steel wire Chinese manjhas of kites flying near Metro corridor causing snapping of wire.

A special drive by Metro officials was required to repair the system in the night and remove “very large number” of such wires and kites from OHE, said a UPMRC spokesperson.

Mr. Mishra says that due to frequent tripping in OHE due to metallic threads, the connected system weakens.

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