Mumbai: BMC may cancel licence if plastic diktat is flouted

MUMBAI: The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) proposes to cancel the licences of those commercial establishments found selling plastic carry bags below 50 microns.

The harsh punishment is being recommended as part of a string of measures the civic body will forward to the state government, to curb the menace of plastic bags. The new BMC proposal will be tabled before the civic house next week. Once cleared, the civic body will ask the state to make necessary changes to the Maharashtra Non-Biodegradable Garbage (Control) Ordinance, 2006.

“The licences of errant establishment — dealers and retailers — will be cancelled if they are found to be selling plastic bags below the prescribed limit,’’ said a senior civic official of the BMC shops and establishment.
The municipal corporation has 4.78 lakh shops, commercial establishment, hotels, restaurants and eating houses, registered under the Bombay Shops and Establishments Act, 1948. The other measures recommended in the new proposal include one that errant manufacturers must be prosecuted. Litigation will act as a deterrent against those who produce unauthorised bags, officials said.

Currently, first-time offenders are fined Rs 5,000 and second-time offenders, Rs 10,000. Third-time offenders are fined Rs 25,000 and can be sentenced to a three-month jail term.

The BMC has also suggested suitable changes in the existing laws to make consumers responsible for aiding and abetting circulation of banned plastic bag.

A fine ranging from Rs 5 to Rs 100 would be imposed on anyone found carrying plastic bags of a thickness less than 50 microns. The thickness limit of 50 micron could also be altered to that of 70, officials said. The idea is to make the existing rules more stringent to discourage manufacturing, use and circulation of banned plastic, since it is difficult to take action against manufacturing units, most of which are located outside city limits. Within the city, it is the responsibility of Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) to take action, an offical said. “We can only take action against them at our Octroi check nakas. However, even that is difficult since unauthorised plastic is mostly smuggled under the garb of miscellaneous goods,’’ said additional municipal commissioner R A Rajeev.

From TOI

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