Mumbai: The Maharashtra government’s decision prohibiting the use of plastic and polystyrene (thermocol) material comes into effect from June 23. Curiously, the implementation of the blanket ban is more likely to embarrass the implementing authority – the BMC — the most.
The civic body would seem to be one of the biggest ‘offenders’ for not abiding by norms, as laid down by the government through a notification in March this year. This is apparent from an affidavit filed by the government in the Bombay High Court. In its 14-page affidavit, the government has listed a series of items made up of plastic and polystyrene, which have been banned from use. Apart from such articles, the government has also mentioned ‘banners and flexes’ in the list of prohibited items.
The relevant clause of the affidavit filed before a bench of Justice Abhay Oka of the High Court, states, “Therefore, the government has decided to put restriction on manufacture, use, stock and sale of articles made up of plastic/thermocol like bags, dishes, plates, cups, bowls…… flexes, banners, festoons, flags etc. in the state.”
If the BMC is to implement the ban, as per this affidavit, then it will make the civic body’s job even more challenging as it will have to start enforcing the new rule at its own offices. “If this is the case, then it would be very difficult for us to implement the ban, as almost every office of the BMC has banners with civic messages. Not only this, the civic body has displayed thousands of banners with civic messages in the nook and corner of the city. Also, there are huge number of banners put up by the civic body in municipal and government-run hospitals,” a senior official, who did not wish to be named, said.
The official continued, “If banners are banned, it will have a huge impact on the BMC itself, as we will have to then think of a new strategy to propagate civic messages.” Meanwhile, Nidhi Chaudhary, the Deputy Municipal Commissioner (Special), who is also the implementing authority of the ban, has claimed that she has not received any information pertaining to ban on banners.
“I have not received any information, wherein the government has included banners in the list of articles banned under the plastic ban. Also, I am going by the notification which clearly contains no mention of banners or flexes. The notification only speaks of ban on items made up of plastic, which are only for one-time use,” Chaudhary told Free Press Journal.
“There is already a ban on displaying banners as imposed by the Bombay High Court. But if the government has mentioned such a ban in its affidavit I think then the authorities concerned must amend the notification and include the same. I would be more than happy to remove all the banners, provided the government asks us to,” Chaudhary added.