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Plastic ban in Maharashtra: If found guilty, traders and shopkeepers may lose permits

your home delivered food may cost more.

mumbai Updated: Mar 25, 2018 01:36 IST
Implementation of the plastic ban will key to the enforcement.(Anshuman Poyrekar/HT Photo)

A day after the state government issued a notification barring use of plastic, it has announced that retailers and shopkeepers may lose their licence if found guilty.

During licence renewal, shopkeepers will have to give an undertaking in the form of affidavits that they won’t use, sell and stock plastic. Meanwhile, retailers in the city demanded that bags and packages used to maintain the quality and freshness of cereals, pulses, fruits and breads not be banned as they are used as protective material.

Environment minister Ramdas Kadam said apart from the government traders and shopkeepers will also have a key responsibility in implementation.

“We have given adequate time of three months to traders, manufacturers and stockists for the existing stock by issuing a notification in January,” he said.

Facing uproar from manufacturers, the state government may extend the deadline for plastic disposal. Civic authorities will certify if a manufacturer has disposed of the stock within a stipulated time. “Though they are expected to dispose it in a month, additional time will be given after deliberation by the high power committee and chief minister Devendra Fadnavis,” said Kadam.

The government has clarified that according to the rules stakeholders have to set up a mechanism to recycle water bottles and milk bags.

Manufacturing associations have slammed the government for allowing plastic containers of potato chips and tetrapacks for eatables manufactured by multinational companies. “Multi-layered plastic packs used to package potato chips is not banned. Similarly, bags for pulses and cereals have been excluded from the ban. This is discriminatory and harmful to small businesses,” said Ravi Jasnani, president of Maharashtra Plastic Manufacturers Association.

The Federation of Retail Traders Welfare Association (FRTWA), while welcoming the ban, has demanded to exclude bags that are integral part of packaging from the ban. Federation’s president Viren Shah, in a letter to the chief minister, said, “Bags used to maintain the quality and freshness of cereals, pulses, fruits, breads should not be banned as they are used to protect the material.”

Ramdas Kadam said primary packaging has not been banned. The fear of rise in unemployment or loss of business was blown out of proportion as 80% of the plastic consumed in Maharashtra is manufactured in other states, he said. “Three months ago, we had given a notice to these manufacturers to switch to other business and dispose of their stock,” he said.

Your home delivery food may cost more

The plastic ban may reduce environmental destruction and clogging of drains, but your bill for home-delivered food is likely to rise.

The government notification on Friday, which has banned one-time use plastic containers, has put home delivery businesses in a soup.

Most restaurants that deliver food use banned disposable plastic containers. Restauranters admitted that this is the easiest and safest way to carry food, especially liquid items such as curries and soups.

These containers are available in the wholesale market at Rs5 a dozen or more based on the quality.

With the ban in force, restaurant owners are scrambling to find alternatives, which, they said, may not be cost effective.

Santosh Shetty, president of Indian Hotel and Restaurant Association (AHAR), said, “As the notification was issued just a day ago, we have not got enough time to think about items that can replace plastic containers. Alternative items will be more costly, so we will have to charge for packaging.”

According to restauranters, the current cost of packaging is between Rs2 and Rs10 per delivery. A restauranter from Fort said, “I charge my customers Re1 per container. Each dish is priced between Rs50 and Rs150. I fear I will lose business if I begin to charge customers more money for delivery.” For most restaurants, free home delivery is one of their unique selling points.

Dilip Datwani, president of Hotel & Restaurant Association of Western India (HRAWI), said, “We can use tin foil for most deliveries or paper bags for dry items. The problem will occur with soups. We may have to stop delivering soups and juice altogether, or come up with a viable option.”

Nafisa Jr, chief marketing officer of The Bohri Kitchen, said, “We are yet to find an alternative that is cost effective. After we study cost implications of alternatives, we will decide whether to pass on the burden to customers or not.”

Restaurant owners’ associations have decided to try other options for a month. Shetty said, “If it is not cost effective, we will approach the state and ask it to relax norms.”

First Published: Mar 25, 2018 01:34 IST