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Mumbai civic body seeks legal opinion on state’s plastic ban, unsure of how to implement norms

Civic official said the state will form rules, based on which BMC will formulate bylaws, which will have details like the fine to levied, how to collect it among others.

mumbai Updated: Mar 27, 2018 10:13 IST
Sanjana Bhalerao
Sanjana Bhalerao
Hindustan Times
mumbai news,BMC,civic body
One of the first steps that are likely to be taken by the BMC would be to ban plastic bags from the 97 municipal markets across the city.(HT File/Representational Image )

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has sought legal opinion on how to implement the ban on use, storage, sale, distribution and transportation of plastic that has been imposed since Friday.

“Many questions on the implementation such as those pertaining to the fine or setting up of collection centres are unanswered. The BMC’s legal team is going through the notification. The course of action will be decided based on their remarks,” said a senior civic official, on condition of anonymity.

The state has declared that violators will be fined Rs5,000 and Rs10,000, for first and second offence. A third-time offender will be fined Rs25,000 and can also face three months imprisonment. Civic officials said the fine to be levied is not mentioned in the notification.

State environment minister Ramdas Kadam had clarified, “The notification has been issued under the Maharashtra Non Bio degradable Garbage Act 2006 that clearly mentions the penalties to be levied. So the law has to be followed.’’

Civic official said the state will form rules, based on which BMC will formulate bylaws, which will have details like the fine to levied, how to collect it among others. It is not clear whether the civic body is trying to buy time as it is entrusted with the entire onus of implementing the ban.

Municipal commissioner Ajoy Mehta is expected to hold a meeting on Wednesday. Among the many queries, the one which has led citizens to worry is disposing of banned items including plastic bags, cutlery, and thermocol among others in the limited time. BMC also has the daunting task of recycling the collected plastic items and it is already struggling to get contractors to process waste at its two landfills.

As a first step, BMC is likely to enforce the ban in the 97 municipal markets across the city. It is also considering and checking the feasibility of setting recycling units at 36 segregation centres across the city. Currently, workers appointed by NGOs segregate dry waste at these centres. The civic body is also considering seeking help from citizen groups who can guide people and also alert government/civic body if they find use or storage of banned items.

State files caveat in HC

The Maharashtra government on Monday filed a caveat in the Bombay High Court requesting the court not to provide any interim relief to petitioners against plastic ban without considering its position on the issue.

“We have filed a caveat in the Bombay high court as a precautionary measure, considering that some people may approach the court to get some interim relief against plastic ban. We have requested the court not to give any relief to the petitioner without listening to our position on the matter,” Kadam said.

First Published: Mar 27, 2018 10:12 IST