Mumbai: Environment Minister Ramdas Kadam on Monday took on Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) Chief Raj Thackeray over his opposition to the plastic ban.
Assuring that no common man will be harassed, Kadam said 80 per cent of plastic was manufactured in Gujarat and Raj Thackeray wanted to support traders from Gujarat. “The government initiated an extensive awareness campaign across the state. We will ensure that common people and small traders are not harassed. But strict action will be taken again plastic manufacturers,” said Kadam. He said there are some political parties that are opposing the ban. “If Raj Thackeray met me earlier, I would have clarified all the things to him. 80 per cent of manufacturing units of plastic are in Gujarat,” he said.
There will be no relaxation in fine, he said. The fine for the first time and second time offenders will be Rs 5,000 and Rs 10,000 respectively. A third violation will attract a fine of Rs 25,000 and a jail term for three months. “There were bans earlier but the microns was less and the fine was less, but it could not be implemented effectively as there was no fear of law among the people,” he said.
On the demand to exempt thermocol used for decorations during Ganesh Festival, Kadam said the empowered committee of the government, dealing with the ban, will discuss this issue and an exemption might be given if Ganesh Mandals give an undertaking that these items will be later handed over to the municipal corporation for disposal.
“There is no ban on thermocol used in containers for ice by fishermen,” Kadam said. Kadam appealed to citizens to change their mindset and use alternatives instead of plastic carry bags. “The nonwoven bags are not allowed as it is not disposable,” he said.