Traders, manufacturers go on indefinite strike as plastic ban comes into effect

Vendors alleged that they were either not consulted on the matter or their suggestions were not taken into consideration by the state government.

Traders and manufacturers of plastic have launched an indefinite strike in Tamil Nadu as the ban on use of plastic in the state came into effect on Tuesday, reported The News Minute.

The state government on June 5 announced a ban on disposable plastic from January 1. Plastic will only be allowed for milk, oil and medicine packets and other items of basic needs. The government had banned the manufacture and use of plastic bags below 51 microns in 2017.

Vendors alleged that the state government did not provide them enough time for an alternative before implementing the ban, according to The Times of India. In Chennai, George Town Plastic Association Traders Association Secretary S Balaji said traders would need at least five to seven years to make the complete switch. “We were not involved in any discussions,” Balaji said. “None of our suggestions were considered. All of us have taken loans worth several crores. How can we shift business within six month?”

Vendors in Chennai are expected to meet the Corporation Commissioner D Karthikeyan on Wednesday to get clarity on the plastic products that are banned.

Former president of Tamil Nadu Plastic Manufacturers’ Association B Swaminathan told The Times of India that the government had banned products that were not part of the government order. “We will fight this legally. Our major issue is that we were not consulted nor considered for suggestions.”

In Thoothukudi, over 50 plastic shops, including wholesale and retail businesses, were closed on Tuesday, reported The New Indian Express. Thoothukudi Plastic Manufacturers and Sellers Association President Senthil Kumar said traders were skeptical about using the suggested alternatives and there was lack of clarity on the suggestions.

“While it was said that paper cups, non-woven carry bags, polypropylene (PP covers) and aluminium foil could be used as alternatives, some officials say that these are also banned,” Kumar said, adding that concerns of traders were not taken into account by the chief minister.

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