Mumbai: As the Maharashtra government is set to enforce the ban on a variety of plastic items, announced in March, from today, Environment Minister Ramdas Kadam said errant manufacturers will face a strong action, but common people and small traders will not be harassed.
He was speaking to reporters after a review meeting with the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board officials.
An extensive awareness campaign will be carried out in the next eight days to inform people about banned items, Kadam said. “We will ensure that common people and small traders are not harassed. But strict action will be taken again plastic manufacturers (if they break the law),” the senior Shiv Sena minister said.
There will be no relaxation in fine, he said. The fine for the first-time and second-time offenders will be Rs 5,000 and Rs 10,000, respectively. A third violation will attract a fine of Rs 25,000 and a jail term for three months. Kadam reiterated that 80 per cent of banned plastic items are manufactured in Gujarat and smuggled to Maharashtra.
On the demand to exempt thermocol used for decorations during Ganesh Festival, Kadam said that the empowered committee of the government, dealing with the ban, will discuss this issue and an exemption might be given if Ganesh Mandals give an undertaking that these items will be later handed over to the municipal corporation for disposal.
Yuva Sena (Shiv Sena youth wing) chief Aditya Thackeray, who called on Kadam on Friday, took a jibe at the ruling alliance partner BJP while speaking to reporters. The plastic ban was not announced overnight, unlike demonetisation. The decision was in discussion for nine months, Thackeray said.
Kadam said that 1,200 tonnes of plastic waste is generated in Maharashtra everyday. “Seventeen states have already banned it and we are the 18th,” he said.