Pune: On the first day of the implementation of the plastic ban in Maharashtra, the street vendors in Mandai and Tulshibaug were seen to be openly using polythene bags below 50 microns. The shopkeepers across the city and street vendors in Deccan area, on the other hand, were on the alert mode and have largely stopped the use of polythene bags.
The sanitary inspectors of PMC claimed to have confiscated 8,711 kg of plastic and collected fine of Rs 3.69 lakh from several shops in the city.
As officials have claimed that raids will continue in the city, the vendors are getting furious claiming that they do not have an alternative to plastic. According to the data revealed by PMC, a total of 8,711 kg plastic and around 75 kg of thermocol was confiscated from 15 wards of the city. Total 73 raids were conducted throughout Saturday.
The sanitary inspectors have confiscated single-use plastic from shopkeepers and not from street side vendors. Abinandan Lunkad, an owner of Lunkad Fabrics situated at Bajirao Road, said, “Today, the sanitary inspectors of PMC confiscated around 15 to 20 polythene bags from us and fined us Rs 5,000 for it. The inspectors suddenly came and started searching for polythene bags.”
On the other hand, the street vendors are openly selling polythene bags below 50 microns at Tulshibaug and also they are angry as there is no cheap alternative.
Haji Vaghere, a street vendor of raw spices at Tulshibaug, said, “We cannot make paper bags and plastic bags are easily available to us. So we are still selling the spices. We do not have any other cheap option to pack or keep the goods.”
Nilima Jadhav, another street vendor of clothes at Tulshibaug, said, “People keep asking for plastic carry bags, but we cannot sell them openly as it is banned. If the customer buys lot of items, then only we give plastic bags to them. The government has just banned plastic carry bags but we are helpless.”
But street vendors at Fergusson College Road and Hongkong lane are not selling or using polythene bags which are below 50 microns. Iqbal Shaikh, a vendor at a mobile shoppe in Honk Kong lane, said, “Today in the morning, the PMC sanitary inspector had informed us that all loose plastic for sale including mobile cover and everything which is below 50 microns will be confiscated from tomorrow. They had even said that they will provide us with alternative carry bags in a few days.”
Rizwan Shaiq, another street vendor of accessories, said, “Before the ban was announced, I used to give women’s accessories in small polythene bags, but now, I have stopped giving out that as well.”
Civic body conducts drive
Suresh Jagtap, Head of the PMC Solid Waste Management Department, said, “The street vendors do not have stocked plastic items which are banned. Hence, we are confiscating the banned plastic items with shopkeepers and then we will move to hotels, restaurants, wedding halls, malls, fish and mutton market and branded stores. This drive will continue till the people in the city stop using plastic.”