Mumbai: Citizens could be fined up to Rs 10,000 if they are seen with plastic bags from June 23, which is the deadline. The civic body is also planning to stratify the fine on use of plastic which can go up to Rs 5,000 for the first violation and Rs 10,000 for repeat offenders.
A total of 225 personnel will be deployed to enforce the ban. In order to implement the diktat, three departments of the corporation will work in tandem — the market department, which is an umbrella body of 200-odd BMC markets, the shops and establishments department, which keeps an eye on shops across the city, and the license department, which will ensure that street hawkers and vendors comply with the ban.
These inspectors, all employees of BMC’s different departments, are authorised to penalise citizens and vendors. Nidhi Chaudhari, deputy municipal commissioner in-charge of the markets and the license department, said, “Right away, the BMC will begin fining shopkeepers for handing out plastic items, and citizens who receive them.”
The state government had on March 23 issued a notification banning the use of plastic bags and other one-time use of plastic material, but gave citizens three months to get rid of their plastics and switch over to more environment-friendly alternatives. Chaudhari said citizens had been given sufficient time to switch over to recyclable paper or cloth bags. “The corporation did not fine Mumbaikars for three months, even though there was no stay on such punitive measures. But now, we will start imposing a ban strictly,” she said.
Soon, BMC will publish two lists of inspectors — one for markets and malls, and the second for supervising street hawkers. The BMC had also organised a ‘rath yatra’ against the use of plastic across the city, citing lack of awareness about the ban. Despite the campaign to inform citizens about the ban, many Mumbaikars are confused about items that are banned and those that are exempted.