Mumbai Plastic Ban: Retailers’ association threatens strike

Mumbai: The Federation of Retail Traders Welfare Association (FRTWA) on Tuesday warned of a strike if the Maharashtra government did not allow retail shops to use plastic packaging. “Over 1,500 retailers from various associations of traders and manufacturers held a meeting in Goregaon here on to discuss the problems being faced by us after the ban was enforced,” FRTWA president Viren Shah said.

The meeting was attended by representatives of the Federation of Associations of Maharashtra (FAM), Chamber of Associations of Maharashtra Industry and Trade, Chembur Merchants Association and many other associations, Shah said. “We have given seven days to the government to fulfil our demands, otherwise we will be forced to go on strike,” Shah said.

Branded manufacturers, who package their products in multi-layer plastic which is harmful for environment, are being spared, while small traders are being punished for using transparent plastic bags which are recyclable and reusable, Shah claimed. Indian Hotel and Restaurant Association (Ahar) too has called a press conference today to highlight the woes of the hotel industry due to the plast ban. The association has, however, supported the ban in principle as a move needed for the sake of environment. Rajiv Singal, the trustee of Bharat Merchant Chamber, an organisation of textile manufactures, claimed that garment shops were the worst hit by the ban. “We understand the ecological significance and therefore we support the ban on plastics, but not the way it is being implemented,” he said.

It should not have been implemented during monsoon, when people need plastic bags more, and traders for whom plastic materials are indispensable should have been exempted, he said. Indian Bakery Association president K P Irani said bakery products cannot remain crisp if wrapped in paper. “Products like ‘khari’ and toast get soggy. Plastic covers are essential to maintain the crispness. We cannot sell these snacks wrapped in paper,” he said. Irani demanded that they be allowed to use plastic covers, adding that the civic body can charge bakery owners for recycling.

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