Elected representatives, NGOs in Maharashtra can file plastic ban violation complaints
Public representatives will have the power to file complaints with the BMC against citizens and manufacturersmumbai Updated: Mar 17, 2018 13:10 IST
If one goes by the rules proposed in the plastic ban by the environment minister Ramdas Kadam, the citizens will have a bone to pick with the state government. The implementation of this ban is likely to turn contentious, with citizens liable to get penalized even for storing a plastic bag.
Public representatives will have the power to file complaints to the BMC against citizens or manufacturers who store or carry plastic and ask the authority to fine them.
“It means if a person is found to be using plastic bags or other banned items, he or she will be fined by the municipal officers. The action against offenders will be of two types. A compounding offence will be one where the offender admits to the offence and will be fined accordingly,’’ said Kadam. “In the second case if the offender is not ready to admit to their offence, then they will be taken to the local police station and a case will be registered against them. In such cases penalty will be decided by the court.’’
Kadam was speaking at a press conference held at the state secretariat to explain the ban proposed by his department on Friday.
Offenders will be fined Rs5,000 and Rs10,000 for first- and second-time offence, respectively. A third-time offender will be fined Rs25,000 and three months imprisonment. The government has also decided to empower elected representatives and non-government organisations (NGOs) to file complaint against violation of the ban to the police, he added.
While Kadam said that the ban will kick start from March 18, officials did not confirm this.
“The final notification of the ban is not ready yet. We are still finalizing the modalities and so, we won’t be able to say that the notification will be issued by March 18,” a senior official from environment department said.
In urban areas, the ban is going to be implemented by the local bodies while in rural areas, it will be implemented by district administration. The government has also formed an empowered committee headed by environment minister that will decide what other items could be banned or taken up for future ban in a phase-wise manner.
Following the deluge in 2005, thin plastic bags, with thickness below 50 microns, were banned in Mumbai in 2006. However, the government has not been successful in enforcing this ban. It also realised that the 2006 ban on plastic carry-bags of up to 50 microns was not helping prevent the clogging of drains.
However, a senior official at the chief minister’s office (CMO) said that care will be taken to enforce the law only after the public is given enough alternatives. The government believes that jute and cotton bags can be an alternative to plastic bags and is working on schemes for promoting them.
“We believe that there are many alternatives available in the market. Jute and cotton bags can be used an alternative to plastic bags. Likewise, cutlery items made of wood and bamboo can replace plastic items. The government has made a provision of Rs5 crore for producing cotton bags and it will be distributed among the people for promotion,” said Satish Gavai, additional chief secretary, environment department.