Amid an apparent tussle between Union Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh and Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dixit over ban on plastic bags, the city government on Saturday decided to intensify its drive against their use in shopping malls and markets.
The decision comes three days after Ramesh disfavoured a blanket ban on use of plastic bags arguing that use of paper bags as an alternative to plastic would lead to cutting of more trees.
In the meeting, the Chief Minister directed the concerned departments as well as MCD and NDMC to implement "seriously" the the ban on plastic bags, which was enforced almost six months ago, official sources said.
Dikshit, who strongly opposed Ramesh's observation disfavouring the ban, also directed the officials to examine whether the plastic bag manufacturing units in the city were adhering to norms.
Attended by top officials of state environment department, Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) besides other concerned departments, the meeting also decided to involve educational institutions in creating awareness against plastic bags.
Dikshit had conveyed to Ramesh that her government was determined to carry on with its drive against plastic bags and enforce the ban, sources said.
The government had yesterday registered ten cases against violators, including shopowners in malls for using plastic bags.
The cases were registered against shop owners in a few malls in Rajouri Garden of west Delhi. If proved guilty, the violators can face fine of Rs one lakh and/or five years' imprisonment as per notification issued by the Delhi Government in January following a High court order.
Disfavouring use of paper bags as an alternative to plastic as it would lead to cutting of trees, Ramesh, while replying to a question in Lok Sabha on Wednesday, said "recycling of plastic, if carried out as per approved procedures and guidelines, may not be an environmental or health hazard".