VIJAYAWADA: With an objective to eliminate single-use plastic in the city, the Vijayawada Municipal Corporation (VMC) has decided to provide necessary financial assistance to women of self-help groups (SHGs) and entrepreneurs through bankers for manufacturing jute and cloth bags. According to the VMC officials, the civic body launched ‘Mana Vijayawada’ anti-plastic campaign with the slogan ‘Be a part of solution- Not part of pollution’ on July 30.
Since then, a series of awareness programmes, walkathons and cultural programmes were organised in the city, involving all sections of the public to eliminate single-use plastic from their daily needs. On August 31, the corporation released a gazette notification to implement a ban on single usage of plastic and its products under its ambit.
A fortnight later, the public health department officials carried out surprise checks and seized around 300 kg of single-use plastic from traders and shopkeepers. With this, the demand-supply mismatch of biodegradable bags emerged as the biggest challenge in enforcing the ban strictly in Vijayawada. Speaking to TNIE, Municipal Commissioner V Prasanna Venkatesh said that demand for cloth and jute bags increased steadily after enforcing ban on single-use plastic. To cash in the demand, the entrepreneurs should come forward and produce biodegradable bags as an alternative.
“Plastic cannot be eradicated in a single day and entrepreneurs should produce cloth and jute bags, considering the demand in the market at an affordable price,” he said.The civic body chief said that a detailed discussion was conducted with bankers over providing loans for entrepreneurs and SHG women to manufacture the biodegradable bags.In response, the bankers expressed their willingness to fund security-free loans for those manufacturing alternatives for plastics under the Mudra scheme on the basis of demand.Interested persons can approach the Urban Community Development (UCD) wing for further details regarding the loan facility.
“A SHG group has approached the UCD wing with a proposal at an estimated cost of `38 lakh to manufacture jute bags. We are tying up with the bank and after examining the viability, the bankers will provide security-free loan for the SHG women,” Venkatesh said.
Elaborating further, the municipal commissioner said that in the first week of September, the civic body joined hands with District Prisons Department to market jute and cloth bags manufactured by the prisoners and also to provide livelihood for the prisoners.
Ten machines were installed at the District Sub Jail in the city, formal inauguration of which will be done in a week by Police Commissioner Ch Dwaraka Tirumala Rao, he added.