Mumbai

Plastic ban: Pune traders threaten strike from today

Cloth bags or bare hands are the only way to carry fruit and vegetables at a market in Pune on Sunday.

Cloth bags or bare hands are the only way to carry fruit and vegetables at a market in Pune on Sunday.   | Photo Credit: Santosh Mishra

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Say civic body action ‘coercive’, no alternatives available

The State government’s implementation of the plastic ban has not gone down well with small retailers, who have threatened to go on an indefinite strike from Monday.

On Saturday, the first day of the ban, civic authorities across Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad had cracked down on shops and establishments, collecting over ₹4.5 lakh in fines and seizing nearly 9,000 kg of banned plastic items. Vendors said the action was ‘coercive’.

In Nagpur, 34 notices were issued on Saturday and ₹1,55,500 was collected in fines from shopkeepers by the Nagpur Municipal Corporation. There were no reports of action on Sunday, a holiday for markets and the civic body.

Protest on Monday

In Pune district, close to 20,000 retail stores including bakeries, groceries, confectioners and garment sellers, could go on an indefinite strike from Monday in protest, said Somaram Rathod, vice-president, Pune District Retailers’ Association. He said the State had promised to allow use of plastic in packaging, but civic officials penalised them all the same.

The Mithai, Farsan and Dairy Association of Pune will be joining the bandh, a statement issued by it on Sunday said. The association welcomed the move in the larger interest of environmental protection, but said it has led to confusion and fear of legal action among its members. “The government hasn’t provided us with alternatives. We will go on an indefinite strike if our concerns aren’t taken seriously,” said association secretary Arvind Budhani.

Sachin Nivangune, president, Pune District Retail Traders’ Association, added, “While we support the move in principle, we protest the coercive actions of the Pune Municipal Corporation. The small shops are being targeted while big industrial concerns go scot-free.”

According to reports, nearly 1,000 shops in Bibwewadi, Sinhagad Road, Shukrawar Peth and Ghole Road downed shutters in protest against the civic action.

Business affected

Mr. Rathod said, “The ban is adversely affecting business and inconveniencing customers. The enforcement approach is illogical. Garment stores found using plastic packaging from the manufacturer are being fined.” The move has also affected restaurants and online food delivery platforms like Swiggy and Zomato.

Suresh Jagtap, Joint Municipal Commissioner, PMC, said, “We have taken action against vendors in nearly 70 locations across the city. We have divided 170 personnel into 17 teams, who will pose as customers and take action against errant vendors.”

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Printable version | Dec 15, 2019 7:38:32 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/pune-traders-threaten-strike-from-today/article24248528.ece

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