Drive taken up in Srirangam ahead of Vaikunta Ekadasi festival

Officials of Tiruchi Corporation raided several shops and commercial establishments in Srirangam and the city bazaar on Tuesday to check the sale of banned plastics products below 40 microns in thickness.

The drive, taken up ahead of Vaikunta Ekadasi festival in Srirangam, started at shops between Rajagopuram and Renga Renga Gopuram of Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple. Officials checked the plastic products, such as bags and cups, sold at shops using a micron thickness dial gauge.

Officials also followed it up with an inspection of wholesale shops, supplying products to retail dealers in the city, located on Allimal Street, Big Bazaar Street, Periya Sourashtra Street and Periya Kammala Street. While a couple of shopkeepers hurriedly closed their shops and fled the scene, officials conducted the checks at various outlets in the areas leading to the seizure of a large quantity of bags and cups, all made of plastics below 40 microns in thickness.

The team, led by B.Rangarajan, Assistant Commissioner, Srirangam zone, and S.Arunachalam, Corporation Executive Engineer, warned traders that the drive would continue and repeat violations would attract penalties. At the end of the drive, a van load of plastic products were seized.

Though the Corporation had framed by-laws in 2008 stipulating penalties for use and production of non bio-degradable plastics, the move has hardly had a deterrent effect.

The Corporation had stipulated penalties of Rs.5,000 for manufacturers, Rs.2,500 for wholesale traders, Rs.750 for retailers, and Rs.100 for consumers.

In April this year the Corporation had announced plans to frame fresh by-laws paving the way for the implementation of the Plastic Waste (Management and Handling) Rules 2011 of the Union government.

It had proposed to double penalties for manufacturers and traders. However, the by-laws are yet to given a final shape and come into effect.

Last year, the Corporation had taken up a campaign in Srirangam to discourage the use of non-biodegradable plastics and had even conducted a contest asking residents to deposit such plastic products at designated places to win prizes.