GTA to ban plastic and gutkhas in the Darjeeling hills

The Gorkhland Territorial Administration (GTA) has decided to enforce ban on use of plastic and gutkhas in the hills from October 28 and has directed the municipality to frame new by-laws in this regard.

GTA to ban plastic and gutkhas in the hills
GTA to ban plastic and gutkhas in the hills

Since the municipality is a transferred subject, the GTA has empowered it to enforce the ban along with fine and even revoking licenses of traders violating the order.

On the sideline of meeting to discuss the implementation of the Swach Bharat Abhiyan in Darjeeling, GTA executive member Roshan Giri said, “We have taken a decision to ban use of plastics and gutkhas in the hills. The use of plastics in any form is harmful in hilly areas, besides intake of gutkhas is dangerous to health”.

The GTA will form a core committee comprising 50 members in each of the three sub-divisions including in the foothills of Mirik. “The committee members will be responsible to ensure traders are not using plastics. They will basically be checking every shop in their respective area to see traders are not using plastics,” Giri said.

In fact, the municipality will be serving notices to the traders from Monday informing about the ban order. “We will serve notices to the traders of the town from tomorrow. They will be informed about the ban and also the consequences which include fine and revoke of license if they are found violating the order,” Darjeeling municipality chairman Amar Singh Rai said on Sunday.

However, the municipality has not yet decided on the fine amount. “We will first have to chalk out new by-laws and modalities to enforce the ban and also the amount of fine to impose. This will take some time but we will try to make it soon,” Singh said.

Incidentally, some years ago the Darjeeling municipality had taken the initiative to enforce ban on use of plastics. It had also made Chowrastha, a popular Hill promenade a no smoking and spit free zone. It had levied fines too. But, the initiative fizzled out after a couple of month.

It may be mentioned that neighbouring Sikkim has been declared a plastic-free state and the ban on the use of plastics has been enforced with a reasonable degree of success.

The GTA will kick-start the Swach Bharat Abhiyan from October 28 in the entire Hills area as a result being the first district in Bengal. For this purpose the council body has asked all the GTA Sabhasads, the four municipality chairmen, schools and colleges and various associations to participate to make the campaign a success.

Source: EOI

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