Central Railway revokes ban on plastic
The Central Railway (CR) has revoked its ban on plastic and on foods wrapped in plastic at stations.
The CR had imposed a ban on food items packaged in plastic wrappings and other non bio-degradable products at all suburban stations of the Mumbai Division on CR since May 21.
The Medha Patkar-led stall operators association had at the time opposed the move on the grounds that the decision will affect the livelihood of stall operators, who have already seen 50% drop in sale in the past one week.
The CR took the decision to revoke the ban after a recent meeting with Patkar, a few catering stall contractors of CR and members of National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), and Madhu Kotian, a commuter activist.
During the meeting, Patkar asked the CR authorities to reconsider the ban. She claimed that the ban should have been taken after prior consultations with catering contractors. She further suggested that the Railway Administration needed to interact with the manufacturers of these products to promote use of eco-friendly wrapping materials. She added that the decision to ban such products should be taken in phases to cover the entire system.
However, the CR authorities maintained that imposing such a ban at suburban stations was fully within their purview. "It was imposed mainly to ensure cleanliness at suburban stations and suburban tracks as these wrappers are major constituent of litter and garbage," said a CR official.
The official noted that the sale of food products on platforms was prohibited in Metro rail and advanced suburban systems precisely with the aim of maintaining cleanliness.
However, consumer activist Kotian said, "The commuters were facing hardships on account of non-availability of products like biscuits, etc. at catering stalls."