Despite the government ban on use of polythene bags, their use is rampant in the city as the administration is slow in taking the violators to task.
As the state government order puts a ban on use of polybags in urban areas from April 1, there appears no impact in the city.
The Amritsar Municipal Corporation is yet to constitute enforcement teams to conduct special drives in the city and challan the violators. Unlike other cities, no attempt is being made to publicise the prohibitory order with regard to use of polythene bags and thermocol items considered harmful to health.
On Saturday, deputy commissioner Varun Roojam announced to start challaning violators. “I will ensure implementation of the ban in the district and ask MC to bring all the stakeholders on board and ask them to abide the order. They will have to conduct raids to keep check on violation of the norms and no relaxation will be given,” said Roojam.
Polythene bags are being used by all shopkeepers in the walled city as well as in other parts. The use is rampant among vegetable vendors and grocery shop owners, but even high-end stores have failed to come out with an alternative to polybags.
Also, the holy city where religious processions and roadside langars are a common, use of plastic and thermocol plates and cups goes on.
On this, the DC said, “I appeal to the people of Amritsar to abide by the law and collect biodegradable garbage and hand it over to MC for disposal. Ban on plastic material is a leap to protect the ecology. I assure polybag use will be curbed.”
SGPC for alternative
As the ban is on, the SGPC is also committed to follow it and has decided to look for alternatives so that the ‘prasad’ is not given in plastic packets. SGPC spokesperson Daljit Bedi said, “We welcome the ban on plastic. Though we do not distribute ‘parsad’ in plastic bags but when packed, plastic is used. We will soon stop it and replace it with paper or jute bag.”
Situation no better in Pathankot
With the ban on polythene bags in the state, shopkeepers and the customers are in a fix to find the alternative. The administration has yet not started imposing fines on polybag-users though.
Some vendors and shopkeepers in the city have stopped using polybags and customers are not happy with that. Residents are slowly learning to carry cloth bags when they go out shopping, especially to buy vegetables and fruits. The use of plastic bags is still rampant on the city outskirts. Keeping an eye on the entire city has become a Herculean task for the government employees authorised to check the use of plastic bags.
The administration has started targeting the stockists and is raiding big stores and malls, said mayor Anil Vasudeva. “The residents should realise that use of polybags is not good for health as it is toxic. We will not spare violators,” he said.
Pawan Kumar, a seller of polybags said government should have first come out with alternatives. “Govt should bring clarity on thickness of polybags that have been banned,” he said.