Carry bags to cost up to Rs.10; paper and cloth bags manufactured by self-help groups to be made available

The City Corporation is planning to increase the price of plastic carry bags to discourage their sale and use in the city.

Mayor K. Chandrika said here on Sunday that depending on their thickness, plastic bags would cost up to Rs.10 at retail shops.

She told presspersons after an all-party meeting that the civic body had decided to increase the price following a notification by the State government on the Kerala Municipality (Second Amendment) Ordinance that vested in the local bodies the power to fix the minimum price of plastic carry bags and plastic covers.

“As per the Ordinance, which will be discussed and passed by the Corporation Council in its next meeting, we have decided to increase the price of plastic carry bags. Wholesale and retail sellers of plastic bags will have to pay a percentage of the increased price as additional fee to the Corporation,” Ms. Chandrika said.

Under the new price rate, plastic carry bags of 41-50 microns thickness will cost Rs.5 at wholesale shops, of which Rs.3 has to be remitted by the seller as Corporation fee. Similar bags sold at retail outlets will cost Rs.8, with a Corporation fee of Rs.2.

Plastic bags with a thickness of 50-60 microns will have a wholesale price of Rs.6 with Rs.3 as Corporation fee and a retail price of Rs.9 with a Corporation fee of Re.1.

For bags with a thickness of 60-70 microns, the wholesale rate will be Rs.7 with Rs.4 as Corporation fee and the retail rate will be Rs.10 with Re.1 as fee.

The wholesale price of plastic carry bags above 70 micros will be Rs.8 of which Rs.4 will have to be remitted as Corporation fee. Their retail rate will be Rs.10 with Re.1 Corporation fee.

A special meeting of the Corporation Council scheduled for December 22 will decide the date from which the new price system will come into effect.

Ms. Chandrika said that as an alternative to plastic bags, cloth and paper bags made by Kudumbasree and other self-help groups would be made available at shops.

“The additional money raised by the sale of plastic bags will be deposited in a fund to be set up exclusively for waste management,” she said.

Source-level treatment

The Mayor said source-level waste management for apartment buildings with more than three storeys and commercial establishments would be enforced from February 28.

“All hotels with seating capacity of more than 20 will have to come up with their own waste-treatment units. Hotels and commercial establishments that do not abide by this regulation will have to face stringent punitive measures, including cancellation of their licence,” she said.

Team to meet Chandy

Ms. Chandrika said the all-party meeting was held to discuss the controversy over the demand for relocating the waste-treatment plant from Vilappilsala. She said that a team from the Corporation would meet Chief Minister Oommen Chandy on Monday to seek government support in view of the December 20 deadline set by the Vilappilsala Janakeeya Samithi for stopping transport of garbage to the plant.

The samithi has threatened to block garbage trucks from the city after the deadline. “There is no war between Thiruvananthapuram Corporation and the people of Vilappilsala. We are, in fact, with the people of Vilappilsala. It is for them that we are imposing all these regulations on the people of the city,” she said.

She said that at a meeting held in September, the Chief Minister had agreed to give six months' time to the Corporation for significantly bringing down the volume of garbage transported to Vilappilsala.

“I hope that we will be able to make a huge difference in the volume of garbage transported to the plant within the next three months. Our aim is zero waste to Vilappilsala,” Ms. Chandrika said.

Deputy Mayor G. Happy Kumar; Corporation standing committee chairpersons S. Pushpalatha, V.S. Padmakumar, P. Shyamkumar, and Palayam Rajan, Leader of the Opposition Johnson Joseph; the Bharatiya Janata Party leader P. Ashok Kumar; and M.B. Resmi, councillor, were present.