Even as the Chandigarh administration has decided to enforce the order of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) imposing a fine of Rs 5,000 on anyone found using or dealing with plastic material in the city from Saturday, the traders are of the view that the administration should first spread awareness about the ban before initiating penal action against violators.
A large number of traders have plastic bags in their stock that they want to exhaust before the administration enforces the NGT order. Kamaljit Singh Panchhi, president of Chandigarh Traders Association, Sector 17, said that the administration should give some time to the traders before they start imposing fine. Chandigarh Beopar Mandal (CBM) president Charanjiv Singh said that they will support the administration for enforcing the ban effectively. However, he added that the administration should first run awareness campaign and give some time to traders before starting their drive.
However, member secretary of the Chandigarh Pollution Control Committee Danish Ashraf ruled out possibility of giving the traders any more time to exhuast their stock. “We are planning to take strict action against violators,” said Ashraf. UT adviser Vijay Dev has appealed to the general public to strictly adhere to the notification issued by the administration and directives by the NGT, to make Chandigarh a pollution-free city.
“Chandigarh administration first imposed ban in 2008 on manufacturing, storing, importing, selling or transporting polythene/plastic carry bags under Section 5 of the Environmental (Protection) Act, 1986. The traders had enough time to follow it”, Ashraf added.
For effective enforcement of the ban, administration has constituted a total of four teams. “We will launch a drive against those using or dealing with plastic,” said UT Deputy Commissioner Ajit Balaji Joshi. He said each team would submit daily reports on number of challans issued and fine raised from violators.
A bench headed by NGT chairperson justice Swatanter Kumar, in its order on December 4, read: “Any person who is found to be storing, purchasing, dealing with or distributing such plastic items shall be liable to pay environmental compensation at the rate of Rs 5,000 per event.”
Pulling up the administration, the tribunal had directed that it should ensure that there was no use of plastic bags, plastic plates or plastic glasses and such allied items across Chandigarh city. The Pollution Control Committee (PCC) will be responsible for implementation of the directions.