Barely days after a state-wide ban on use of plastic can into force across Maharashtra, Indian Hotel and Restaurant Association (AHAR) have said that the restaurant owners have been harassed by the BMC officials, even for the items not banned by the state. The association president Santosh Shetty said that the environment minister circular issued two months back had clearly said that only the single use materials are banned. However the BMC officers have visited the restaurants and fined them for using the reusable and recycled containers.
AHAR president Santosh Shetty clearly said, “We have completely supported the plastic ban and have stopped the plastics bags or plastic packets for parcel. However there are two kinds of containers used for parcel. One with the thin material with nothing written on the back and of single use and hence banned, however there are thick containers with reusable or recycled written on the back and are not banned. Our members have been harassed for using these reusable containers and we request the government to educate and inform the people on field.”
He added, “These containers are not only used at home, but also hold a good scrap value, as they are recycle and used for making chairs etc.”
While the new containers cost more than the single use one, the food costs will rise depending on the size. Shetty said, “The reusable and recycled containers are costlier and are affecting our business. For eg, a simple idli-sambar will request three containers and hence the cost will rise by 15-20 pc, similar goes on other food items. There is a possibility that customers can be provided with a buyback option under which they would be returned the money for reusable containers if they choose to bring it back.”
The state government’s ban on plastic items came into effect from last Saturday with fines ranging from Rs 5,000 to Rs 25,000 for repeat offenders.
AHAR who has over 8000 members in the city said that there has been a huge effect on the business. There has been a 20 per cent reduction in the business, as parcel have been affected largely.
The association under Indian Hotels and Restaurants Association has issued a circular to its members asking them to use reusable and recyclable containers for their parcel service. The government circular about the plastic ban has also been given out to all members of the association. Restaurant owners’ association has asked the members to video record the procedure of being fined. Not just that, association’s circular goes one step ahead and says, ‘Refuse to pay the fine and challenge it and insist on mentioning the words reusable and recycled containers in the panchanama’.