Come January 21 and there will be a blanket ban on plastic carry bags in Uttar Pradesh.
The state cabinet on December 18 had decided to ban the manufacture, import, purchase and storage of all kinds of plastic bags. Later, the government issued a notification to this effect on December 23, banning their use from January 21, 2016.
The state plastic bag manufacturing business is estimated at Rs 5,000 crore and supports the livelihood of about five million workers. There are 2,000 odd units engaged in its manufacturing across the state.
The government had taken the decision to protect environment and public health. Earlier on November 18, 2015, a Allahabad High Court division bench comprising Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justice Yashwant Verma had directed the state to issue a notification enforcing a complete ban on the sale of polythene across UP by December 31.
Industry wants the government not to ban polythene bags of 40 microns and above, as already laid by the Centre through a gazette notification.
The manufacturers had petitioned Governor Ram Naik against the alleged arbitrary decision of the Akhilesh Yadav government. They had also sought an appointment with the chief minister to put up their case, but in vain.
Now, the industrialists have filed a petition in the HC seeking relief. The banks have also approached the court since the closure of plastic carry bag units could result in non-performing assets (NPA), since they have exposure in the segment. The next hearing is on February 4.
"We would proceed on strike from tomorrow and hand over the keys of our establishments to the respective district magistrates," UP Plastic Products Association president Ravi Jain told Business Standard.
On January 28, they would hold a large demonstration in Lucknow decrying the ban.
Industry wants oxo-biodegradable bags be allowed in usage as they were eco-friendly and degrade automatically in 3-4 months.
"The ban would not only deprive the livelihood of people, but affect the business of recycling of plastic bags, which would pose ecological hazard in the long run," Laghu Udyog Bharti office bearer Prashant Bhatiya said.
The ban is not applicable to plastic carry bags used for sealing eatables such as milk.
UP Pollution Control Board had been mandated for ensuring compliance of the ban order.