Mumbai Plastic ban: BMC's blue squad nets Rs 55,000 in fines on day 1

Jun 24, 2018, 07:01 IST | Chetna Yerunkar

BMC earns Rs 55K on Day 1 of plastic ban, 11 large retail outlets at Phoenix Mall bear the brunt

Mumbai Plastic ban: BMC's blue squad nets Rs 55,000 in fines on day 1
The squad speaks to a shopkeeper at the CST Subway on what he needs to get rid of. Pic/Bipin Kokate

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), which initially seemed unprepared to implement the plastic ban on Saturday, started its crackdown at Phoenix Mall post 6 pm after news of other civic bodies' fine collections trickled in. While some of the 249 inspectors, authorised to impose fines, had not received their blue jackets yet, the ones who had, began fining large retail outlets at the mall.

Eleven retail outlets there bore the brunt of the blue squad on Day 1, among which were Starbucks, Food Hall, Indigo Delicatessen, Gossip (a shoe store) and McDonald's. A BMC spokesperson said, "The squad fined them all Rs 5,000 each. McDonald's initially resisted the fine, but later paid up. We collected Rs 55,000 in fines."

BMC's blue squad, which will implement the ban, at the BMC headquarters on Saturday. Pic/Bipin Kokate
BMC's blue squad, which will implement the ban, at the BMC headquarters on Saturday. Pic/Bipin Kokate

Sangeeta Hasnale, head of the markets department, BMC, said, "So far, we have fined 11 stores belonging to big brands. This action was planned to show that BMC is indeed ready with the implementation of the plastic ban. Those who refused to pay at first were told of the consequences of the refusal on their reputation, and they immediately shelled out the fine. We will continue our action."

'No fine for common man yet'
On Saturday, Deputy Municipal Commissioner Nidhi Choudhary, in-charge of implementing the plastic ban, briefed the 249 inspectors on the job. Assistant Municipal Commissioner Kiran Dighavkar said, "Big retail chains, who should lead by example, will face action initially, but we are still working on it as awareness is our key focus. Further, there will definitely not be any fine imposed yet on the common man or small retailers." Ten per cent of the squad will be women.

Deputy Municipal Commissioner Nidhi Choudhary on Saturday. Pic/Bipin Kokate
Deputy Municipal Commissioner Nidhi Choudhary on Saturday. Pic/Bipin Kokate

Civic chief Ajoy Mehta has made it very clear that the officers whose names have been listed on the BMC's official website can go on the field only if they have their uniforms and identity cards in place. Not otherwise.

Route march
Rain played spoilsport on Day 1 of the plastic ban, as the route march with the squad of 249 inspectors to educate retailers and citizens did not last long. The BMC officials had started their walk on DN Road near the BMC office towards Crawford Market. Meanwhile, the ambiguity on the products banned still continues. During the route march, the BMC squad took away various kinds of carry bags which looked like cloth bags but have 30 per cent plastic content.

Also read: Maharashtra plastic ban: 72 fined, Rs 3.6 lakh collected in Nashik

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