Plastic ban in 6 cities of Odisha from tomorrow

Bhubaneswar: The much-hyped plastic ban will be enforced in six cities- Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Rourkela, Sambalpur, Berhampur and Puri- from Gandhi Jayanti tomorrow. However, resentment is brewing among traders who alleged that as such ban is being implemented by the Odisha government without much preparedness.

Traders in Cuttack alleged that no alternative measures have been taken and there have been no promotional campaigns to enforce the plastic ban in spirit. Besides, they are also apprehensive about incurring losses owing to huge stock piles of polythene bags, thermocol and other items.

“People are so used to polythene, it seems impossible as of now to put a stop. We have a lot of stock left with us which will certainly affect our livelihood,” said Mohan Nandi, a trader in Cuttack.

As per the government guidelines, vendors will not be allowed to use polythene sheets of less than 50 micron thickness for storing, transporting, dispensing or packaging of any article.

On the other hand, Forests and Environment department director, K Murugesan informed that institutions and agencies engaged in the manufacturing of paper, cotton and jute bags will be promoted after discussions with the MSME department.

Directions have been issued to conduct raids on polythene manufacturing units in the cities where the new plastic ban rule will be implemented from tomorrow.

Meanwhile, in other parts of the State like Sambalpur and Rourkela, people have already started to turn to cotton and other alternatives including paper and jute bags. The Rourkela Municipal Corporation has formed two special squads for strict enforcement of the ban.

“The enforcement squads will conduct periodic raids in market areas and banned items will be seized,” said Rashmita Panda, an official of the Rourkela Municipal Corporation.

In Puri, the administration has asked the traders and others to dispose of existing stock of polytene and allied materials within a month. Later, action will be taken against big manufacturers of polythene as there is a provision of 5 years jail and Rs 1 lakh fine for the violators.

The Odisha government is also gearing up to create a provision in the municipal act to empower the concerned civic body officials to impose a penalty of Rs 2,000 to Rs 3,000 on small traders for any violation.