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Plastic ban to be implemented with renewed vigour

Saturday, December 15, 2018
By Raju Vernekar

As part of the campaign, officers of respective zones will be held responsible if banned plastic items are found with shopkeepers in their areas

The BMC has decided to step up activities to ensure that the ban plastic campaign is strictly implemented by its officers and it is followed seriously by shopkeepers and commoners from Saturday onwards.

As part of the campaign, officers of respective zones will be held responsible if banned plastic items are found with shopkeepers in their areas. A squad of over 240 employees of the shop and establishment, licensing and market, will be paying surprise visits to different areas to book violators, official sources said.

The squad would include over 40 senior inspectors who will approach any individual or a retailer/trader found using banned plastic items such as carry bags, glasses and plates, among other things. In case of hawkers, plastic bags and items will be seized, but if it’s a licensed hawker, he or she will have to share  licence details so that the offence can be registered.

The uniform kits with identity cards and waistcoats have already been given to the squad and on Saturday the members will patrol their areas so that people see them and remember the ban.

The fine includes: First-time offenders: Rs.5,000, Second-time offenders: Rs.10,000 and Third-time offenders: Rs.25,000 - and 3 months’ imprisonment

The BMC, which collects a fine of 50,000 to one lakh rupees per day, is anticipating the fine amount to go up to three lakh rupees per day with strict implementation of measures. Ever since the ban was introduced from June 23  onwards, the BMC has collected fines of over Rs. 1.30 crore.

Those who misbehave with or obstruct squad members can be charged under Section 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of duty) of the Indian Penal Code. Earlier there had been opposition to the visit by BMC staff from some of the shopkeepers, especially in South Mumbai area.

The Maharashtra government has imposed a ban on manufacturing, use, sale, distribution and storage of plastic materials such as one-time-use bags, spoons, plates, PET and PETE bottles and thermocol items.

The government had allowed a breathing period of three months to clear the stocks. However, now all plastic and thermocol items have been banned.

After six three months of plastic ban, customers and retailers are seeking alternatives to plastic items especially cheap waterproof bags, spoons and straws.

People have been made aware of the measures to some extent and are taking the ban seriously but, there are grey areas, claim stakeholders.

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