07 Jul 2018
Maharashtra: Railways awaiting govt nod to act against plastic-ban violators
Over two weeks after the Central Railways (CR) and the Western Railways (WR) authorities requested the Maharashtra Environment Ministry to authorize them to act against the plastic ban violators and penalize them, they are still waiting for a response, an official said today.
Maharashtra witnessed a statewide ban on plastic items which came into force on June 23.
Cannot collect fine until given official power: Railway official
In their submission, the railway authorities had sought to know the list of banned plastic items and detailed guidelines about implementing the ban.
A WR official said they are also waiting for the government's green signal to implement the ban on its premises.
"Until we are officially given power, we cannot collect fine from the violators," the official added.
Railways take certain measures on their own
However, both the railways have taken up certain measures to discourage passengers from using plastic items on its premises.
"All the stall owners, including the cafeteria operators, have been warned against using plastic and they are cooperating with us," the officials said.
The CR and the WR said they have already installed plastic bottle crushing machines at some stations on a pilot basis.
Third-time violators could face 3 months' imprisonment
Maharashtra banned all kinds of plastic bags, tea cups, glasses, thermocol, and plastic items used in hotels to parcel food like boxes and spoons from June 23.
The ban prescribed Rs. 5,000 fine for first-time offenders and Rs. 10,000 for the second-time offenders. Those who violate the ban for the third time will face a fine of Rs. 25,000, along with a three-month imprisonment.
Railways to install additional plastic bottle crushing machines
The railways will also float tenders to more additional plastic bottle crushing machines. While the CR plans to set up 35 such machines at 21 stations, the WR wants to install 25 machines at 18 stations.
Govt gives relaxation on to small retailers for three months
However, four days later, the Maharashtra government had relaxed the stringent ban by allowing small retailers to use plastic bags for packaging for the next three months. The relaxation is applicable for plastic bags above 50 microns.