MUMBAI: The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has collected Rs 2.95 lakh fine for violation of plastic ban in the last three days even as the trader community said the government's move has hit them hard.
The BMC inspected over 8,000 shops in the city since the statewide ban on the use of plastic items, including carry-bags and thermocol, came into effect on June 23.
Deputy municipal commissioner Nidhi Choudhari said the city civic body inspected 8,061 shops and found banned items in 59 outlets.
The corporation collected a total fine of Rs 2.95 lakh, she said, adding that during the inspection they found that most shops have switched over to alternatives of plastic.
However, Rajiv Singal, the trustee of Bharat Merchant Chamber, an organisation of textile manufactures, claimed that garment shops were the worst hit by the ban.
"We understand the ecological significance and therefore we support the ban on plastics, but not the way it is being implemented," he said.
It should not have been implemented during the monsoon, when people need plastic bags more.
Also, the traders for whom plastic materials are indispensable should have been exempted from the ban, Singal said.
Besides, proper arrangements should have been made to recycle plastics, he said.
Indian Bakery Association president K P Irani said certain products cannot remain crisp if they are wrapped in non-plastic covers.
"Everyone knows that products like 'khari' and toast (confectioneries) get dampened by coming in contact with air. Plastic covers are essential to maintain the crispness of these snacks. We cannot sell these snacks by wrapping them in paper," he said.
Irani demanded that they be allowed to use plastic covers and the civic body may charge them for its recycling.
Federation of Retail Traders Welfare Association president Viren Shah said they have sought a meeting with state environment minister Ramdas Kadam to put forth their concerns.
"We are going to meet Ramdas Kadamji to apprise him of our problems. We had recommended to keep grocery stores out of the banned list, but the high-powered committee led by Kadamji did not approve it. We will discuss with him to allow us to use plastics on buy-back terms," Shah said.
If the branded products, packed in multi-layered plastics, are allowed, then why not recyclable plastic at local grocery stores, he asked.
Meanwhile, a homemaker from suburban Vikhroli said the fine amount for plastic ban violation was too high.
Most of the grocery items are packed in plastic materials, she said, adding that they are now finding it difficult to dispose of garbage due to ban on dustbin bags.
Another woman from Ghatkopar area said the BMC needs to launch an awareness drive to clarify which plastic products are covered under the ban and specify the ones which are exempted.
All kinds of plastic bags, irrespective of their thickness, tea cups, glasses, thermocol glasses, thermocol used for decoration, the plastic used in hotels to parcel food like boxes, spoons have been banned, the state environment minister had earlier said.
"The first time offenders will have to pay a fine of Rs 5,000; Rs 10,000 if caught for the second time and Rs 25,000 along with a jail term of three months for third time offence," he had said.