Pune: After the High Court (HC) refused to lift the ban on thermocol decorative items ahead of Ganpati festival, the wholesalers of thermocol and decorative items of the city are in a fix. According to the sellers in Raviwar Peth, because of the decision, they will have to face huge losses.
Although they have geared up ahead of the Ganesh festival and will be using foam, corrugated and wooden decoratives or makhars as an alternative to thermocol, these products will be costlier than thermocol, so they are not sure if it will benefit them.
From March 23, 2018 (when the total ban on plastic and thermocol made products were announced), the State government was firm to ban thermocol, but the thermocol associations from all over the State had requested the government to relax the prohibition for this year at least during the Ganesh festival, as 80 per cent of the decorative materials used for the festival was ready.
The member of the association had a meeting with Environment Minister Ramdas Kadam on the issue. However, on July 13, the Bombay High Court had finally given its order that thermocol will be completely banned.
During a spot visit to Raviwar Peth, Bhori Ali, the wholesalers of thermocol seemed to be upset over the decision as their business depended on the sale during the festival. The wholesalers will face a loss of at least Rs 10 to 15 lakh due to the High Court’s decision.
Harish Jalan, President of Thermocol Sajavat Sanghatana and also a stall owner of thermocol decorations at Agrasen Bhavan, said, “The State government has not taken a right decision. Even after requesting them to relax the ban for this year’s Ganpati festival, they did pay attention to us so we are really unhappy.”
Jalan also said, “More than the wholesalers, the craftsmen are suffering because of the decision. Around two to three lakh craftsmen will suffer due to the ban because they have already made all the decoration material.”
These craftsmen are working in the business since last 20 years and the ban has ruined everything and, now, for them to shift into an alternative production will again take time,” Jalan added. He also expressed that the business is more during Ganpati festival, as he puts a stall at Agrasen Bhavan, Raviwar Peth, during this time.
“I used to make business of Rs 10 to 15 lakh by selling thermocol decorations. Now, I will face huge losses. The alternatives will not come soon and it will take time for the people to get adjusted to the change,” he said.
Bharat Prajapati, the owner of Gala Enterprises at Bhori Ali, said, “Every year, we used to make a business of Rs 10 to 15 lakh from selling thermocol decorations during the Ganesh festival, but this year, we might not make any profits. “
“The thermocol decorations were available from Rs 100 to Rs 2,500 but the alternatives will be 20 per cent costlier than the thermocol,” he further said.
“After plastic ban, we started keeping sugarcane plates and bowls, wooden spoons and paper glasses. But they are also not getting sold as much as the plastic and thermocol products were selling. We are expecting that during the Ganesh festival at least, the sale will go up,” Prajapati added.
Madaram Gehlot, owner of Tanishka and Decorators at Bhroi Ali, said, “A sudden ban on plastic and thermocol is a wrong decision taken by the State government. Every year, we used to make business by selling thermocol products and decorations of Rs 40 to 50 lakh and during Ganesh festival only, the business was of Rs 10 lakh, but this year we are in a total loss.”
Piyush Baldota, owner of Nemichand Shantilal Jain at Bhori Ali, said, “Papercraft will increase more and people might start demanding and purchasing paper, corrugated or wooden made makhars and decorations.”
Viky Vyas, owner of Vyas Kumar gift shop at Bhori Ali, also said the same thing. He said, “Corrugated decorations and makhars existed in the market for a long time, but due to the fancy looks of thermocol decorations, they were ignored. Now, they might come in the market again in huge number as an alternative to thermocol decorations.”