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Congress leader Arvind Shinde prevents PMC squad from imposing fine for using plastic in Pune

When the PMC squad visited the Shivam clothing store near Pune railway station to confiscate around 20 kg of plastic carry bags, the shopkeeper Ashish Khandelwal telephoned Shinde, who arrived at the shop and got into an argument with the civic team.

pune Updated: Jun 27, 2018 16:25 IST
Parth Welankar
Parth Welankar
Hindustan Times, Pune
Congress leader,Arvind Shinde,PMC squad
Arvind Shinde (centre) speaks to police personnel when the civic officials raided a garmet shop during the plastic ban. (Shankar Narayan/HT)

A Pune municipal corporation’s (PMC) plastic ban enforcement squad faced opposition from Congress leader Arvind Shinde on Tuesday. Shinde prevented the squad from imposing a fine on a shopkeeper who had large quantities of plastic carry bags on his premises.

When the PMC squad visited the Shivam clothing store near Pune railway station to confiscate around 20 kg of plastic carry bags, the shopkeeper Ashish Khandelwal telephoned Shinde, who arrived at the shop and got into an argument with the civic team.

Shinde, who is a leader of the Congress in the PMC, allowed the squad to confiscate the plastic bags, but prevented them from imposing a fine of ₹5,000 on the trader. The squad succumbed to the pressure and left without imposing the fine.

A Tanwar, PMC deputy sanitary inspector incharge of the plastic squad that conducted the raid, said, “If our work is disrupted in this manner and we are bullied, the plastic ban won’t be successful. It is unfortunate that the politicians themselves don’t follow the rules and regulations and instead bully us.”

Shinde said, “We are not against the plastic ban but we completely oppose the manner in which it is being implemented. No civic official can directly enter a shop and conduct a raid and impose a fine on them. Nowhere in the city will we allow the officials to take action in this manner against the shop owners.”

When told that the state government has empowered the civic squad to impose fine as per a government resolution (GR), he said, “The civic administration is at fault if people are unaware of the norms in the GR. They have not put enough effort to create awareness of the rules and regulations of the ban.”

He stressed that the Congress will not allow the imposition of fine anywhere in the city and will continue to oppose all such actions.

Reacting to the incident, Suresh Jagtap, head of the solid waste management department at PMC, explained that the basic intent of the plastic ban is not to impose fine but to completely stop the use of plastic. “I will look into the matter and ensure that such things do not happen again,” he said.

First Published: Jun 27, 2018 16:24 IST