Retailers across categories say plastic ban in Maharashtra unfair

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Retailers, especially food and grocery chains, are grappling with the new plastic ban in Maharashtra, and said it is impractical in many cases.

"In liquid items what is the alternative we have. When we have to move goods from one market to another, there is no alternative. Wherever it is possible, we have used alternative but in many cases, we do not know what to do," said Rakesh Biyani, joint managing director at Future Retail.

The Maharashtra government notification has banned manufacturing, use, sale, distribution and storage of plastic materials such as bags, spoons, plates and other disposable items. The ban also includes packaging material and thermocol. However, plastic used for packaging of medicines and drugs, milk and handling of solid waste is exempted from the ban.

The government had given a three-month window to get rid of the existing stock.

Neville Noronha, managing director of D-Mart said the ban is unfair in commodities such as fresh produce, staples etc which are loosely sold.

"If manufacturers can package the product with plastic, we also should be allowed to package products at shop floor," he said.

However, he welcomed banning of plastic carry bags.

For first-time offenders, the fine will be Rs 5,000. For second-time offenders, the fine will be Rs 10,000. Those who violate it for the third time will face a fine of Rs 25,000 along with imprisonment of three months.
Customers have to brace for higher prices because of alternative options, Biyani said. 

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