Maharashtra Plastic Ban: Thane Municipal Corporation nets Rs 95,000 on Day 1
The team of 20 searched the market area in Thane West and fined shopkeepers hoarding more than two-three kg of plastic
The reality of the plastic ban hit Thaneites on Saturday, when a crack team from the Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) hit the markets at 7.30 am and raked in Rs 95,000 in fines by 5 pm. The team of 20 searched the market area in Thane West and fined shopkeepers hoarding more than two-three kg of plastic. The team also recovered 2,500 kg of plastic and thermocol on their rounds.
Despite the three-month warning given, the shopkeepers, predictably, were outraged by the fines. They said they had asked plastic wholesalers to provide plastic bags of more than 50 micron, but were told they were unavailable, unaware that the civic body has specified that plastic bags of any size and thickness are banned.
"All big brands provide us with bulk material in plastic bags, why can't TMC or the government first fine them," they said. Some shopkeepers even went to the police station, but they were told to pay the fine and cooperate with the civic officials. Those who did not have enough money on them were allowed to pay Rs 2,000 or Rs 3,000. TMC officials have also warned garment shops to remove the plastic covering from all dress material, or they would have to shell out hefty fines from Monday.
Senior Police Inspector P C Giridhar of Vartak Nagar police station, said, "A few shopkeepers came here to complain, but we told them to cooperate with the TMC officials."
TMC PRO Sandip Malvi said, "Our teams successfully raided several shops in Thane and collected fines from those flouting the ban. Our officials also warned pedestrians found carrying plastic bags."
Shivji Patel, a shop owner, said, "Around 20 TMC officials entered my shop and started searching every corner. They found a bunch of plastic bags that we use when packing grain for customers. We couldn't find paper bags or cotton bags at cheaper rates, which is why we kept these plastic bags. I have now told my customers to bring cotton bags with them or else we cannot provide groceries." Another shopkeeper, Tushar Jain, said, "The government should have first made other options available to us. I have gone to wholesalers three times for good cotton, but was told they were unavailable. We can't keep our shops shut till then, right? The government is harassing us."
The TMC helpline on Saturday received 75 complaints against plastic users. Navi Mumbai officials will start fining people from Monday, because two days ago, during their secret drive, they collected R1 lakh in fines.
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