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Plastic ban: Mumbai retailers put off strike, give state govt week to decide on buyback

150 associations allege harassment by BMC, threaten statewide protest if Maharashtra govt does not consider their demands.

mumbai Updated: Jun 27, 2018 13:52 IST
Steffy Thevar
Steffy Thevar
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,Maharashtra,Plastic ban
BMC officials speak to shop owners regarding the plastic ban at Crawford Market.(Kunal Patil/HT Photo)

Retailers, who had threatened to go on strike from Wednesday protesting the plastic ban, have put their strike on hold.

They have given a seven-day ultimatum to the government to allow them buyback option like it has done for milk packets and other dairy products.

On Tuesday, around 1,000 retailers from across the city, representatives of retail associations from other cities and some plastic manufacturers gathered at Goregaon to discuss the ‘harassment’ by the plastic ban squad.

They decided to postpone the strike but threatened a statewide protest if the state does not consider their demands. The meeting was attended by more than 150 associations from Maharashtra.

Viren Shah, president of Federation of Retail Traders’ Welfare Association, said, “We want the government to allow us buyback option just like it has allowed on dairy products. Our 3.5 lakh members, will give in writing that they would start buying back recyclable plastic bags from customers at a rate of ₹15 per kilogram.” The collected plastic would be sent to recycling centres, he said. “We also want the government to allow packaging for loose grocery items at the primary level just like manufacturers,” said Shah.

They decided to shut shops and gather around the civic officer if an anti-plastic ban squad member harassed any retailer. They said that no inspector should harass retailers over plastic packaging materials till a clear notification is issued by the authorities.

A retailer association in Ghatkopar has written to the chief minister, stating that the squad has been behaving rudely with retailers. Retailers said they were in favour of banning plastic bags that are less than 50 microns, however, they are still available in the market.

Indian Hotels and Restaurants Association (AHAR) has asked its members not to stock banned items and if they are penalised they should not pay the fine but contest it in court. Niranjan Shetty, chairman of Mumbai AHAR, said, “We are in favour of the ban but we need an alternative for gravy items. BMC is yet to give us clarity on whether plastic containers are allowed.”

First Published: Jun 27, 2018 11:51 IST