July 2018 News

Despite Ban, Use Of Polythene Rampant In Kashmir Resorts

15 July 2018
The Tribune (Chandigarh)
Ishfaq Tantry

Gulmarg: The High Court order banning the use of polythene and plastic bags at eco-sensitive resorts in Kashmir is being thrown to winds. The shopkeepers and tourists are seen using the banned items at the Gulmarg and Sonamarg resorts with impunity and the authorities concerned are not taking any corrective measures. At the Gulmarg ski resort, the shopkeepers can be seen selling merchandise to the customers in plastic bags. 'I know plastic is banned here but the paper bags are of no use. Customers prefer the plastic bags only,' said a shopkeeper selling chicken and vegetables in the Gulmarg market. Asked whether the Gulmarg Development Authority officials are taking any action against the erring persons, the shopkeeper said: 'We use the plastic bags till 11 am only.' In fact, plastic bags, torn wrappers of junk food such as Uncle Chips and Kurkure, etc along with used plastic beverage bottles can be seen everywhere around the Gulmarg bowl. However, there seems to be no effort by the authorities concerned to keep the biodegradable and non-biodegradable wastes segregated in separate bins. Though in a separate direction in August last year, the High Court had asked the authorities to check the entry of plastic items at the Tangmarg entry point but no such effort is underway at the entry points to Gulmarg by the municipal authorities. Similar is the situation at another eco-sensitive resort of Sonamarg where the authorities concerned are making no efforts to collect the biodegradable and non-biodegradable wastes in bins as envisaged under the rules and as directed by the High Court. At the resort, civic workers can be seen collecting waste, including plastic bottles and eatables, from the shopkeepers and other establishments in the same bins. We have already installed two plants to treat biodegradable and non-biodegradable wastes. The plastic ban has been implemented to the extent of 90 per cent but some things still move in through checkposts. Moreover, the Food and Drug Administration had already imposed a ban on the sale of chips and other items in plastic bags within the limits of the Gulmarg resort. The violators are being penalised. - Syed Hanief Bulkhi, CEO, Gulmarg Development Authority What the HC had said: In June 2017, the HC had directed the J&K Cable Car Corporation, which operates and manages the Gandola lifts, to carry out frisking while the people board these lifts. A division bench of the HC, which is hearing a PIL on tourist resorts, had also directed the Gulmarg Municipal Committee to ensure 'strict compliance' of the ban in the resort.