Decry MCC move to levy fine between Rs. 3,000 – Rs. 10,000 from hotels
Mysore/Mysuru: The Mysuru District Administration, Mysuru City Corporation (MCC) and the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) have enforced a blanket ban on all kinds of single-use plastic products with effect from July 1.
But in the absence of alternatives, lack of awareness drives and actual information on what types of plastic are banned and the lack of clarity, the ban per se has been criticised, especially by hoteliers who have termed the move to impose hefty fines as autocratic. They have urged the MCC to stop singling out the hotel industry while sparing others and desist from imposing penalties.
In a letter, Mysuru Hotel Owners Association President C. Narayanagowda has decried the move to collect penalties that range from Rs. 3,000 to Rs. 10,000.
“The MCC must launch awareness drives on the ban, give details to the users and suggest alternatives to the plastic. The ban has put businesses into hardship and penalties are being unfairly imposed,” he said.
Takeaway sales affected
“Takeaway sales comprise a significant portion of our business, and that is affected due to the ban. We are yet to find a suitable and cost-effective alternative. So we are appealing to the MCC to show some leniency. The ban was being implemented in a hurry, without creating enough alternatives to plastics,” he added.
The use of plastics in the packing industry is quite undeniable, more so when it comes to packing food. Since the ban, officials have seized tonnes of banned plastic from markets, hotels, retail shops, malls and roadside shops.
“We are not against the ban but the way it is being enforced by the MCC. Hefty fines are being imposed and there is no clarity on the type of plastic that has been banned and what has been permitted. Also, where are the alternatives?” Narayanagowda asked.
He added that he has received many complaints from hoteliers about the imposition of hefty fines. “This is nothing but high-handedness of the MCC staff. Is the MCC aware of what has been banned and what is allowed? The MCC and the KSPCB must come out with a booklet on dos and don’ts in connection with the ban as being done in Bengaluru to spread awareness among the commercial and business establishments,” he said.
“The MCC is unfairly targeting us as hoteliers are easy victims. The civic body is not showing any urgency in raiding manufacturing and distribution units from where single-use plastics originate. There are many such factories on the city outskirts, Narayanagowda pointed out.
Training programme on ban enforcement
A training programme on the enforcement of plastic ban where banned plastic items were listed was held at the Mysuru City Corporation (MCC) Office yesterday. 19 banned items were listed including plastic sticks, earbuds with plastic sticks, plastic flags, candy sticks, ice-cream sticks, thermocol or polystyrene decoration, balloons with plastic sticks, cutlery items like cups, glasses, cups, forks, spoons, straws, trays, knives and stirrers for tea or coffee.
Karnataka State Plastic Association President Vijaykumar Khadak steered the training programme. He said that the ban is being strictly implemented across the country and the Centre has set up National and State-level Control Rooms and special enforcement teams to check the illegal manufacture, import, stocking, distribution, sale and use of banned single-use plastic items.
The ban also extends to the sale, stocking, distribution and export of such plastic products in all shops and shopping malls. Also, the sale of these products near schools, colleges, educational institutions and hospitals has been prohibited. Even wrapping or packing plastic materials like sweet boxes, invitation cards and cigarette packets and plastic or PVC banners which are less than 100 microns will be banned.
Stringent action will be taken against bulk distributors who continue to indulge in the distribution of single-use plastic. By doing so, we want to ensure that plastic below 50 microns is not available in retail shops. As per the Environment Protection Act 1986, a penalty of up to Rs. 1 lakh and a jail term of up to 5 years can be imposed on violators, he added. MCC Additional Commissioner Roopa, Food Inspectors of all the 9 Zones of the MCC, KSPCB environment engineers and other staff were present.