LAHORE - Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif has clamped a complete ban on kite flying and celebration of Basant across Punjab.

“No one can be allowed to play with the lives of the people,” the CM said while announcing to hold the DPO concerned responsible if ban on the kite flying and celebration of basant would be violated anywhere in the province.

A complete restriction on kite flying and celebration of Punjab’s tradition festival Basant has been continuing for last decade under the Supreme Court order. In 2005, the apex court banned the age-old festival of Punjab when the media reported killing of a large number of people at different times and different places due to slitting of neck by the sharp kite string.

A large number of people mainly children were also reported injured by stray string. Majority of the victims were motorcyclists while pedestrians were also not safe from this sport which became deadly after the use of highly sharp chemical string and twine. A section of kite flyers used the metal wire which they wrapped on the twine.

This practice caused a huge financial loss to the government and became public nuisance when the stray twine with metal wire wrapped on would drop on the live electricity wire on the public poles to cause not only long hour breakdowns but also burning a large number of transformers.

The kite-flyers also used glass powder coated string that was dangerous to the public life although not as much as the chemical string.

In 2010, the then Punjab governor, Khalid Mqabool, liked Basant celebration although with all safety measures. In that year the basant celebration was marred by confusion as officially it could not be announced although kite flying was held in some parts of the province. After the elapse seven years, the people engaged with manufacturing of kites and string, and the sellers voiced for celebrating the basant as a matter of procuring humble sustenance to the poor families attacked with the business.

In this background hint was passed by some persons in the government quarters including Punjab Minister Bilal Yasin for celebrating the festival however after ensuring every security measure. But the desire could not be materialised as some recent heart rending incidents took place wherein innocent kids fell victim to the stray string in Lahore, Gujranwala and other parts.