The Central Railway’s (CR) much-appreciated plastic ban lasted just a little over a month. The CR has decided to revoke the ban following opposition from catering stall owners and some activists.
The decision was announced after a meeting of CR officials with catering stall contractors and members of the National Alliance of People’s Movement (NAPM) led by Medha Patkar and commuter activist Madhu Kotian on Monday.
In May, CR banned the sale of plastic-wrapped food items in suburban stations in the city. This was done to keep stations and trains clean, and prevent clogging of drains in the monsoon.
“Now, we will come up with a fresh notification about the revocation of the ban,” said a senior CR official.
There are around 200 catering stalls across suburban
stations, with more than 500 employees. The plastic ban hurt these stalls, which were losing Rs5,000-6,000 daily. Owing to the ban, they could no longer sell commonly purchased items such as biscuits, chips, namkeens etc.
Arguing their cause, Patkar said the decision of banning plastic wrappers had been taken without prior consultation with catering contractors and was discriminatory, as it was not imposed on mainline CR services, or other divisions of the railways, said CR sources.
“We are not activists, we have to run trains,” said Subodh Jain, general manager, CR, after the meeting.
“If CR had to revoke the decision; why did it take the initiative at all?” said National Railways Users Consultative Committee (NRUCC) member Subhash Gupta.
RTI activist Anil Galgali demanded a probe into the issue saying the railways should continue with the plastic ban.