Just two months after the Central Railway (CR) decided to ban use of plastic bags across all its stations, lack of support from all quarters forced its officials to revoke the decision in July 2012. But with Union Railway Minister P K Bansal mentioning a ban on plastic bags in his recently delivered rail budget speech, it is likely to be implemented soon. Sources in the railways said the Railway Board would soon prioritise the need for banning plastic bags at stations and in trains.
Besides, even the CR authorities are keen on the Board formulating guidelines to disallow plastic from all the premises falling under its jurisdiction. CR General Manager Subodh Jain said, “We will now wait for the Railway Board to inform us on imposing a ban on plastic.” The officials claim that they face flak from various associations and people whenever they decide to ban plastic bags. A CR official said, “This step was supposed to help maintain cleanliness at stations and inside trains.
However, severe opposition from several people made it worse. Now, as and when we get a go-ahead on this issue, we will be implementing it. Platforms are mainly to help people board and alight trains, and not a diner. No one has the time to wait and eat in a city like Mumbai.”
Nearly 200-odd food stall operators on the railway premises in Mumbai division had to comply with the rule after it came into effect from May 22, 2012, despite running into resistance from certain quarters claiming that it would affect livelihood of the food vendors. A total of 25 food items, like cakes, biscuits, wafers and other salted snacks, were withdrawn from sale, as they came packed in non-biodegradable materials such plastic, metallic film packets, sulphite paper packing and aluminium foil packing.