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While the Maharashtra government has decided to implement the ban on plastic bags and bottled water in government offices and star hotels from March, officials in the Environment department said it is unlikely to bring in a Bill for it in the Winter Session of the assembly. According to the Environment department, four teams have been formed to study the implementation and laws pertaining to the plastic ban in other states, including Sikkim, to implement the mechanism effectively in the state. “A team that went to Sikkim to study the plastic ban is back and is in process of submitting its report,” said an official.
“The plastic ban in Sikkim is being considered as the most successful. But, it turned out, there is a ban on plastic carry bags and all other material is available in plastic. Only thing is that people carry cloth bags to take belongings home. There is a huge awareness among people about not using plastic carry bags, which is why the state is successful in the ban,” said another official, who was part of the team that went to Sikkim.
A senior official from the department said that a cabinet proposal would be moved after receiving the reports from the four teams. “We plan to get the cabinet approval for the proposal in December. Introducing a Bill in the winter session for the ban seems unlikely. Also, we don’t want to do anything in a hurry as we have received a lot of flak over noise pollution norms. We don’t want to repeat that,” said the official.
The Winter Session of the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly will begin on December 11. “We may take the ordinance route for the implementation of the plastic ban and bottles in government offices and star hotels from March,” added the official.
An official from the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board said that it has held the divisional-level meeting in Nashik, Aurangabad and Pune to discuss the ban with the stakeholders. “A meeting for the Konkan region will be held soon. Besides, the meetings of the two divisions — Amravati and Nagpur — in Vidarbha are likely to be held in the Winter Session,” said the official.