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Special BMC squad set to educate Mumbaiites, implement plastic ban courteously

The initial focus will be on creating awareness about the plastic ban and not on imposing fines, the BMC said; squad will be on regular patrols from Sunday.

mumbai Updated: Jun 22, 2018 16:35 IST
Steffy Thevar
Steffy Thevar
Hindustan Times
Plastic ban,Mumbai,Maharashtra
The plastic ban will come into effect from Saturday.(HT File Photo)

Dressed in dark blue waistcoat uniforms, a squad of team of 249 staffers from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) will keep a check on the use of plastic in the city and implement the ban starting this Sunday.

Squad members have been undergoing training, especially in good behaviour and politeness, for the past few months, and will get into action a day after the ban comes into effect.

The penalty
  • First-time offenders: Rs5,000
  • Second-time offenders: Rs10,000
  • Third-time offenders: Rs25,000, and 3 months’ imprisonment

The squad has been instructed to go soft on individual offenders in the early days, and focus on shops, malls and hawkers. The initial attempt, though, will be to create awareness about the plastic ban and not on imposing fine. Sangeeta Hasnale, assistant municipal commissioner (markets), who has trained the squad, said: “We have told squad members that in case of kids, elderly and women, the first approach should be to seize the plastic bag and explain the ban. Fines will be imposed later, not right in the beginning.”

The squad has gone through two rounds of training, especially on being polite. “We have trained members on how to behave with citizens, to be polite as well as exercise authority as per the law. We have taught them not to threaten people. We have also explained the exact plastic items that have been banned, what the fine is for each, and taught them how to exert authority,” Hasnale said.

Squad members include personnel from the BMC’s licence, markets and encroachments departments. Each ward in the city will have approximately 10 members.

The uniform kits with identity cards and waistcoats have already been given to the squad, and on Saturday, members will patrol their areas once so that people see them and remember the ban.

The squad can approach any individual or a retailer/trader found using banned plastic items such as plastic carry bags, glasses and plates, among other things.

In case of all hawkers, plastic bags and items will be seized, but if it’s a licenced hawker, he or she will also have to share the licence details so that the offence can be registered.

Those who misbehave with or obstruct squad members can be charged under section 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of duty) of the Indian Penal Code. However, there is no mechanism in place to make sure that squad members do not misuse their powers.

First Published: Jun 22, 2018 16:34 IST