Govt seeking amendments to make anti-plastic bag law stringent

Govt seeking amendments to make anti-plastic bag law stringent

Schoolchildren hold placards as they take part in a rally to protest against pollution and urge others to protect the environment near India Gate in New Delhi on March 10, 2010. AFP

The government is in the final stage of giving more teeth to the officials by drafting the amendments in this regard in the Delhi Plastic Bag (Manufacture, Sales and Usage) and Garbage (Control) Act, 2000. This Bill would be introduced in the Assembly session slated from March 15.

The Bill will seek insertion of a provision to allow the concerned officials to take an immediate decision by penalising the violators on the spot as is being done in the anti-smoking law. At present, the power to challan the defaulter found distributing or using plastic bags lies only with the Delhi Environment Secretary and Chairman of the Delhi Pollution Control Committee.

"This often results in a long legal battle as the case has to be decided by the court. On-spot penalty would ensure speedy decisions as well as effective implementation of the drive against hazardous plastic bags," an environment department official said.

Since the notification of the Act early last year, the government has filed only 164 challans against violators, mainly mall-owners and shopkeepers while three cases have reached their logical end in the court. The Act envisages imprisonment of up to five years and/or a fine of up to Rs 1 lakh against the violators.

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