Hoteliers in a soup over fake cornstarch bags

Neha Basudkar
Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Pune: Restaurant owners and hoteliers in Pune are feeling ‘handicapped’ and have become vulnerable to fraudsters, as they are unable to get good quality plastic alternatives after the state-wide ban. 

According to Ganesh Shetty, President of Pune Hoteliers Association, a person from Bengaluru had recently sold ‘eco-friendly’ cornstarch bags to over 100 restaurants in the city. Later, the officials from Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) confiscated these bags from a restaurant because they contained plastic and did not have No-Objection Certificate (NOC) from PMC. 

Pune: Restaurant owners and hoteliers in Pune are feeling ‘handicapped’ and have become vulnerable to fraudsters, as they are unable to get good quality plastic alternatives after the state-wide ban. 

According to Ganesh Shetty, President of Pune Hoteliers Association, a person from Bengaluru had recently sold ‘eco-friendly’ cornstarch bags to over 100 restaurants in the city. Later, the officials from Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) confiscated these bags from a restaurant because they contained plastic and did not have No-Objection Certificate (NOC) from PMC. 

The association has now decided to purchase alternatives of plastic only after they provide an NOC from the PMC. 

PMC Checks 
Suresh Jagtap, head of Solid Waste Department of PMC, told Sakal Times, “The bags sold under the name of corn starch contains plastic. That is the reason why we keep checks on restaurants and traders.” 

“A month ago, we had confiscated around 1,000 to 2,000 cornstarch bags from a restaurant of the city and it was revealed that those bags contained plastic.”

Shetty further said, “After the plastic ban, the paper bags that we are getting are of inferior quality and because of that, our business has been affected by 20 per cent. The demand is so huge that those people who are into the production are minting money and providing us with lower quality bags, but we are helpless.”

The other alternatives are also more costly in comparison to plastic. Furthermore, this expense is  being added to the hotel customer’s bill. 

Food delivery
Shetty said that almost 80 to 90 per cent of the working professionals tend to go for home delivery of food from restaurants. “We have to tell them to carry their own bags, as we cannot give them guarantee of the paper bags available with us.”

The association is also in talks with trusted plastic manufacturing associations to provide them with alternative products of plastic. Ravi Jashnani, President of Maharashtra Plastic Manufacturing Association, said, “Even though the Pune Hoteliers Association is in talks with us, we are yet to decide if we can provide them with the paper bags.”

‘We are desperate to get alternatives to plastic’
 After the allegedly ‘eco-friendly’ cornstarch bags were confiscated, a message was circulated in the hoteliers’ Whatsapp group to warn others. It was decided that any future purchase of alternatives to plastic bags and containers will depend on PMC’s NOC. 
  Shetty told Sakal Times that they had recommended to Environment Minister Ramdas Kadam and Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis months ago to consider plastic bags above 50 microns and containers. Hoteliers are assuring precautions from their side.
 “We are desperate to get alternatives to plastic. The Maharashtra government should have disposable machines like the government of Himachal Pradesh. Just because the government does not have the machinery to dispose and recycle the plastic bags, they are putting the burden on us,” Ganesh Shetty said. 

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