Tribune News Service
Mumbai, June 27
Retailers and owners of small businesses have threatened to go on strike from next week if the Maharashtra government did not postpone the ban on single-use plastic items.
At a meeting here on Tuesday, retailers said they should be allowed to use plastic packaging the same way bigger manufacturers were allowed to do so under the law. “We have decided to go on an indefinite strike from next week if the Maharashtra government does not allow us to use plastic packaging material,” Viren Shah, president, Federation of Retail Traders Welfare Association (FRTWA) said.
Shah said a number of trade and industry associations in Maharashtra had come together and decided to go on strike from next week.
Shah said the government had spared bigger manufacturers who packaged their goods in several layers of plastic. But small traders who used transparent plastic bags were being fined. The Indian Hotel and Restaurant Association, which has incidentally supported the ban on single use plastic bags, said plastic containers used by restaurants should not be banned since these were used repeatedly by customers.
Bakers also pointed out that biscuits and toasts became soggy if wrapped in butter paper and needed to be wrapped in plastic. “Bakeries should be allowed to use plastic bags with civic bodies charging us for recycling,” KP Irani, president, Indian Bakers’ Association told reporters here.
The Chamber of Associations of Maharashtra Industry and Trade (CAMIT) at a meeting with Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis pointed out that the plastic ban coming during the monsoons is inconveniencing the common man and business owners alike. Dipen Agarwal, president, CAMIT, urged Fadnavis to postpone the ban on plastic by three months so that the trade could arrange for alternatives.
Meanwhile, incidents of confrontation between civic officials and traders over the imposition of plastic ban are being reported. At many places, traders were seen downing the shutters as soon as the plastic ban squad visible in their blue waist coats appeared on the scene.
The anti-plastic squad from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation is moving in groups of 10-15 each at shopping centres and malls to prevent attacks from traders, officials said.
So far, around Rs 10 lakh had been collected by way of fines from traders holding the banned plastic in their inventories. However, common man had been spared, officials said.
The ban has also become politicised with Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray urging people not to pay the fines being levied by the civic officials. “The ban on plastic bags is one method of collecting funds by the ruling parties before the general election,” Thackeray said on social networking sites.
News Courtesy : TOI,Tribune