With the plastic ban set to be implemented from Saturday, the railways too will conduct a drive to check on the disposal of plastic at foodstalls, but licensees claim they are still confused over how to dispose plastic products.
From June 23, Maharashtra government, which banned the use of single-use plastic, will levy a penalty between Rs 5,000- Rs 25,000 for those found using plastic. While the ban will be implemented within Maharashtra, passengers coming to Mumbai from other parts of the country are also expected to be maintain caution while disposing plastic at stations.
The ban is on the manufacture, usage, transport, distribution, wholesale and retail sale and storage, import of plastic bags with handle and without handle and single-use disposable dishes, cups, plates, glasses, plastic packaging to wrap or store products, and packaging of food items. “We will be conducting a drive from June 25 to check if plastic is disposed of by licensees. The drive is aimed to check on their method, not penalise them. We had conducted a meeting with the licensees to guide them on the disposal,” Sanjay Mishra, Divisional Railway Manager, Western Railway said.
“We plan to give paper cups, paper plates to commuters. We also plan to change wrapping with butter paper or aluminum foil. While we are expected to sell water bottles and soft drinks from approved brands, the confusion of how we would dispose them still remains,” Edul Irani, president of Indian Railway Catering Association said.
Licensees have expressed reservations over the ‘Buy Back’ policy where the stall owner is expected to offer money in return over the plastic bottle deposited by the user. While the state government is expected to repay the amount shelled by stall owners in pay back, licensees claimed no official communication has been received. “Without sufficient number of crushing machines at stations, disposing off plastic bottles would not be possible. With only four days left for the ban, we are not sure as to what has to be done of the available bottles,” Amit Mittal, proprietor of three stalls at railway said.
The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation plans to offer Re 1 to commuters bringing back the Rail Neer bottle to the station stall. “We have planned to donate four bottle crushing machines at stations including Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus, Lokmanya Tilak Terminus, Mumbai Central and Dadar where bottles could be disposed off. We are also coming up with a policy for proper disposal of Rail Neer bottles soon, “
Pinakin Morawalla, spokesperson of IRCTC said. Meanwhile, officials from MIAL said they have instructed their Good and Beverage outlets to restrict use of plastic to the maximum. “We segregate garbage into dry and wet waste. As the dry garbage including plastic is disposed off to dumping ground, the Corporation can take a call,” a MIAL official said.