The Telegraph
Wednesday , December 5 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Polythene bags still in circulation at Bali yatra

- Traders flout civic norms, special squad carry out raids to crackdown on use of plastic items

Cuttack, Dec. 4: The municipal corporation has banned the use of polythene, but the hazardous material is being used by many traders at Bali yatra.

Violation of the ban by a section of traders has raised questions about the effectiveness of the civic body’s initiatives to curb the menace.

“A lot of traders are selling products in polythene bags and using disposable plastic glasses despite the ban,” said Subrat Singh, a visitor.

However, officials of the corporation claim that over 80 per cent traders are strictly following the guidelines and using alternative carry bags at the fair.

A special squad has also been formed to ensure that there is no violation of the ban order at Bali yatra that has already registered a footfall of over 10 lakh visitors.

Besides the vigil, regular announcements are being made through the public address systems to create awareness among the visitors and traders.

To clamp down on errant traders, the special squad is carrying out surprise checks in over 1,300 kiosks that have come up on the Bali yatra ground.

“No bulk stock of polythene has been seized by the squad from one particular place. However, around three quintals of polythene have been recovered from various kiosks during the last five days of the fair,” said city health officer P.K. Pradhan

Pradhan said there had been a great improvement as a majority of traders from various parts of the state and the country were using net-cotton, jute and paper carry bags to sell their products.

A civic official said a self-help group had set up two kiosks at the fair ground to sell alternative carry bags.

“It is now three years since we have teamed up with the civic body to set up stalls to facilitate sale of alternative carry bags to various traders coming to Bali yatra,” said Hasina Parvin, member of Subharat, a self-help group from Dargha Bazar.

Parvin said they were doing brisk business because of the ban on polythene. She claimed to be selling over 40 to 50 kg of net-cotton, paper and jute bags daily.

The cost of these eco-friendly bags ranges from Rs 3 to 5 per piece for small bags, while the bigger ones are sold for Rs 10-15.

However, many visitors said a lot of small traders were using polythene, especially in the evening hours, after the raids were over.

But not all traders are violating the civic ban on polythene. Nearly 350 traders doing business at the Odisha Rural Development and Marketing Society stall are selling their products in eco-friendly paper and jute bags.