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Fresh drive against banned polythene

Patna: The Patna Municipal Corporation (PMC) and Bihar Pollution Control Board have decided to launch a fresh drive against polythene use (less than 50 microns).

Polythene bags under 50 microns in thickness are banned in consonance with rules framed by the Centre in February 2011 but that has not stopped people from using it.

Campaigns against the rampant defiance of the order had been less than satisfactory in the past - bottlenecks such as lack of manpower at PMC have hampered work on implementing the ban. A senior PMC official said on condition of anonymity: "We launched such drives in the past but without any tangible results. Let's see the result this time."

Manpower crunch is still an issue for the civic body, so The Telegraph called PMC commissioner Keshav Ranjan Prasad for measures to solve the problem, but they went unanswered. The senior civic official said the civic body would requisition Patna district for extra force to implement the ban on use of polythene bags under 50 microns. He added that a committee would be constituted to start the drive, and possibly from week, different teams will survey areas, impose fines on violators and collect penalty. The amount of fine to be charged has been fixed at Rs 500.

Plastic waste is one of the major causes for choked drains, and PMC and the pollution control board feel the drive needs to be conducted because blocked sewerage lead to waterlogging in the monsoon.

"We face lots of difficulties in our drive against violators as the PMC does not have adequate security apparatus. This creates law and order problems for the resistance put up before the PMC employees," said Prasoon Sinha, a senior Patna High Court lawyer, representing the PMC.

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