As Maharashtra plastic ban enters day 3, focus on eateries, shopkeepers
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As Maharashtra plastic ban enters day 3, focus on eateries, shopkeepers

BMC intensified its crackdown on retailers in Mumbai who have been using plastic items despite the statewide ban imposed by Maharashtra on Saturday.

mumbai Updated: Jun 25, 2018 11:30 IST
Eeshanpriya M S
Eeshanpriya M S
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Mumbai plastic ban,Maharashtra plastic ban,Plastic ban
A ban on plastic has forced resident at Koperkhairne in Navi Mumbai.(Bachchan Kumar/HT File Photo)

Intensifying their crackdown against retail shops of the statewide plastic ban, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) inspectors on Sunday turned their attention to Chembur and a Ghatkopar mall.

They collected Rs 3.5 lakh in fines from 72 shops and confiscated 591.67kg of plastic from the two locations. Five of the offenders who refused to pay fine were issued challans. The 250 inspectors, who are enforcing the ban, visited 867 shops.

The BMC said individuals will be targeted from Monday.

Nidhi Chaudhari, deputy municipal commissioner, in charge of implementing the ban, said, “On Sunday, inspectors were directed to focus on malls and shopkeepers because they use plastic in bulk and have had enough time to prepare for the ban. If they encountered hawkers and citizens with the banned items, they were asked to explain the ban and take away the plastic item, but not fine them.”

The BMC has appointed 250 inspectors from its various departments. They are divided into 24 teams. Sunday’s eight-hour long inspection drive ended around 5.30pm.

Sharad Bande, superintendent of the licence department, who was out on the field on Sunday, said, “The inspection was peaceful. Unlike Saturday, there was no protest from violators. Only five shopkeepers refused to pay the fine, and we issued challans against their names.”

Retailers who were found using/storing banned plastic items were under the BMC’s lens on Sunday too. In a relief to restaurateurs, the BMC said it will not fine them for using containers for liquids. But they claimed that such leeway does not exist as some of their colleagues were fined
591.67 kg Plastic collected
Rs 3.5 lakh Collected in fines
867 Shops inspected
72 Shops caught for storing plastic
5 Shopkeepers who refused to pay fine
Most shops were caught with plastic carry bags, items wrapped in plastic, non-woven bags, plastic containers, thermocol items, kulfi wrappers and popcorn tubs
Retailer’s associations have decide to call for a statewide strike on Wednesday, if their demands are not met. They want the state to:
Postpone the plastic ban till the end of monsoon
Allow plastic packaging at retail level during the monsoon, like branded products at the manufacturing level
Allow plastic containers and carry bags for grocery stores which sell loose grain
The Federation of Retail Traders Welfare Association (FRTWA) says retailers have suffered losses up to 50% owing to the plastic ban Restaurant owners say their home delivery and takeaway business is down by 30%
BMC will start cracking its whip on individuals from Monday
250 inspectors, divided into 24 teams, will continue to inspect malls, shops, public places, eateries, etc
The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) had on Saturday appealed to citizens to not pay fines
"We have no problem with the plastic ban. However, levying such a fine is wrong," MNS leader Sandeep Deshpande had said
He demanded the BMC stop harassing people
"The BMC should educate people and spread awareness about the ills of plastic. Just levying fines will result in harassment of people"
15 shops in a Parel mall were penalised
The BMC decided to serve prosecution notices to 11 of them because they refused to pay fines
BMC inspectors also tore around the city to clear ambiguity over banned and exempted items
Fearing penalty from the BMC inspectors, around 40 retailers, mostly selling farsan (snacks), shut their shops in Malad (West) on Saturday. They said they did so for want of alternatives

The BMC has advised its inspectors to not insist shopkeepers to pay fine. The inspectors were accompanied by a representative from a retailer’s association to avoid confusion about the fine.

Kishor Kulkarni, secretary of the Chembur Merchants’ Association, said he strung along with the inspectors to avoid arguments and confusion.

However, even two days after the ban, citizens and retailers are scratching their head over what single-use plastic products are illegal. Viren Shah, president of the Federation of Retail Traders Welfare Association (FRTWA), said, “On Sunday, inspectors fined shopkeepers for kulfi wrappers and popcorn tubs at a Ghatkopar mall. They did not know if those items were banned. Similarly, many inspectors were no less confused.”

BMC’s Chaudhari clarified that popcorn tubs are also banned as they are single-use plastic items.

First Published: Jun 25, 2018 10:26 IST