Bowing under the pressure from traders and shopkeepers, the municipal corporation has stopped its challan drive against the use of polythene/plastic carry bags for the next 10 days with effect from Tuesday.
MC Commissioner PS Gill told HT that the 10-day time window has been given to allow them to adjust to the new changes. The distributors and retailers had asked for some relaxation time so that they could exhaust their existing stock of plastic carry bags. They also wanted some time to convince their end users to adapt to the new changes.
“Taking note of their concerns, I have directed the MC teams to stop challaning till April 15, but at the same time, trade unions have been categorically instructed not to use poly bags anymore even within this stipulated relaxation time,” he said, adding that they could either return their existing stock to their original suppliers, mostly in Delhi or Gurgaon, or dispose it off outside the state. “But if they are found using it in that relaxation period, they will not be spared at any cost,” he added.
Gill added that it was a final time window and after April 15, the civic body would go full throttle to check all the violators and impose heavy penalty as per the new rules of the state government against those who were still found using these environment unfriendly bags. “The diary owners will also not be spared,” he said, appealing the general public to shun its use voluntarily.
Welcoming the move, Rakesh Gupta, president of Vyopar Bachao Sangharsh Committee, said he was sure that in next few days the use of plastic carry bags would be stopped in the market as, both, the customers as well as retailers were now aware of the new government rules.
“But the government must help all the manufacturers of these bags who are suffering huge losses because of the immediate ban,” he said, adding that there were nearly 40 polythene carry bags manufacturing units in Patiala and all these factories had virtually stopped operating now in wake of immediate ban.
“The government must give them subsidised loans for diversification towards other business,” he said
Meanwhile, the hearing of those challaned in last two-three days is scheduled before the MC commissioner on coming Thursday. Gill said that action would be taken against them as per the penal amount fixed by the state government, which was Rs 25,000 for manufacturer and Rs 5,000 for retailers.