You may soon find that your favourite biscuits, chips or chocolates are no longer available at many suburban railway stations.
The Central Railway has banned all stalls on suburban stations from selling food items wrapped in plastic, with immediate effect. This means most commonly-sold branded chips, chocolates and biscuits, will be taken off the shelves in these stalls. In case of locally made items, such as samosas or sandwiches, vendors will have to ensure that the food is not wrapped in plastic.
The ban has been imposed on all CR stations in Mumbai division’s suburban section. In major stations such as the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, parts of the station catering to outstation trains will be excluded from the ban.
The CR administration recently served notices to catering stalls on suburban stations. “Two days ago, we received a notice from the CR, asking us to stop sale food items wrapped in plastic,” said a catering stall manager at CST.
Sources said this move has been taken to reduce plastic waste and avoid choking of drains near railway stations and tracks, during the monsoon. Every year, suburban services are disrupted after drains get choked and overflow in the monsoons, because of littering and irresponsible disposal of plastic waste. “Plastic wrappers are non-biodegradable and cause environment hazards,” said the CR notice to stall managers.
“This move is not only environment-friendly, but will also help reduce littering. As wrappers and plastic waste won’t be strewn on platforms and tracks, surroundings will be cleaner, and look better,” said V Malegaokar, Chief PRO, CR. However, CR does not plan to take action against those who buy plastic-wrapped items from outside and continue to litter on railway premises. “It will not be practical to take action,” said Subodh Jain, general manager, CR.
The move has not gone down well with stall owners. “If affects our business, we lose half our sales,” said Shivkumar Singh, manager of Sai Sagar Fast Food Stall at CST. Some passengers, too, have been caught off guard“I wanted to buy biscuits for my daughter before our journey, but no stall was selling it,” said Pradeep Rao, Vikhroli resident.