Haridwar traders not yet ready for NGT ban on plastic
Many traders continue to sell plastic items such as poly bags and plastic cans to earn a living in Haridwardehradun Updated: Dec 29, 2017 20:58 IST
Rajesh Kumar (49) sells plastic cans to the pilgrims who visit Har-Ki-Pauri in Haridwar.
Kumar who manages to earn between ₹150-200 per day by selling the cans is clueless about the recent National Green Tribunal (NGT) ban on any form of plastic in Haridwar. Like Kumar, numerous traders along the Ganga stretch sell plastic cans to earn a living.
Plastic cans are ubiquitous as they are cheap, easy to store and use.
Another trader in Ranipur areas who has been penalised in the past says he cannot quit selling plastic as the demand is high.
Citing dozen odd major stockists operating in the city, the trader said they were small fries and catching them won’t make much difference. “Someone has to bell the cat, who will do it,” asked the trader, who wished not to be named.
The green tribunal, earlier this month, expressed resentment over the non-implementation of its earlier order and asked authorities to ensure blanked ban on plastic in Haridwar.
Last year, the NGT ordered ban on any form of plastic between Gaumukh and Haridwar. According to an order issued by the state government, plastic is banned across Uttarakhand.
With back to back NGT orders, authorities responsible for ensuring implementation said they were doing whatever possible.
Nitin Bhadauria, municipal commissioner, said in the last one year, they have collected over ₹2 lakh as penalty from offenders.
Such steps, however, have hardly made any impact. The use of every form of plastic - from poly bags to plastic cans is rampant in this holy city.
District magistrate Deepak Rawat told HT that besides penalising traders, stockists, the administration would also crack whip on the consumers.
In a first of its kind case in Haridwar, Rawat last week penalised a customer ₹ 500 for carrying a plastic bag.
“I have asked police for intense checking at bordering areas of Haridwar with Uttar Pradesh. I have authorised sub-inspector level officer and lekhpal to impose fine of ₹5,000 on those who transport plastic bags in Haridwar.”
The DM also announced ₹1,000 reward for those who will give tip-off about poly bag stockists.
The former MP from Haridwar, Harish Rawat, accused the government of doing little and not giving “enough teeth” to the local administration.
“During my tenure as the chief minister, I had sensitised traders (on no plastic use) and also fixed responsibilities of district administration and municipal corporation to ensure prohibition on plastic and polythene,” the Congress leader said.