Political leaders joined the dharna that threw traffic out of gear.

Protesting the ban on plastic bags and plastic cups in the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) area to be implemented from July 1, workers and owners of plastic manufacturing units of Katedan took out a massive rally on Wednesday.

The rally and dharna which was led by Rajendranagar MLA T. Prakash Goud and others ended up throwing traffic on the busy Aramgarh junction for nearly an hour. Several workers and local leaders of different parties including the CPI(M) and MIM joined the agitation.

The rally which included women workers of the plastic industries, started from Katedan auto stand and culminated in a sit-in on the Aramgarh X Road which brought traffic from all sides and including vehicles heading towards the airport to a grinding halt.

Holding placards and sporting tee-shirts with slogans in support of plastic usage, the workers climbed atop the buses and raised slogans against the GHMC decision.

“Almost 25,000 persons are dependant on these plastic industries and it is unwise on part of the GHMC to order a ban from July 1. There has been no discussion with either workers or the owners of manufacturing unit before the decision was taken,” said Mr. Goud.

He wanted alternates to the worked out and steps taken to ensure that families dependant on these units were not affected. “We will be meeting the Chief Minister, N. Kiran Kumar Reddy and submit a memorandum. If no reprieve is provided, we will intensify the agitation,” Mr. Goud said.

Shiv Kumar Gupta, vice-president, Katedan Small Scale Manufacturers' Association, deplored the ban on plastic and demanded that the units be allowed to adhere to the prescription of 40 microns. “The rich might go for fancy solutions of cloth bags and jute bags, but what will the poor families do to carry their daily needs if these carry bags were banned,” he said.

There were about 900 plastic units in the city and the ban would deprive employment for nearly five lakh families and leave them in lurch. “There is no alternate to plastic and the world is trying to reconcile to this fact. The GHMC too should work for alternatives instead of imposing a ban,” Mr.Gupta said.

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