Hyderabad: Traffic on busy Hyderabad-Bangalore Highway came to a virtual standstill for over three hours as members of the Andhra Pradesh Plastic Manufacturers Associations staged a dharna at the Aramgarh Crossroads, to protest against the proposed ban on plastic bags.
About eight to ten thousand protestors, mostly owners of plastic bag manufacturing units and their employees blocked the busy Highway leading to the Shamshabad International Airport, leading to chaos on the road.
The traffic jams extended from Shamshabad to the Nehru Zoological Park, a distance of about five kilometres, and from the statue former home minister Indra Reddy to Lakshmiguda crossroads, a distance of three kilometres.
Though the protest lasted about half-an-hour, the traffic jam which resulted continued for about three hours before the roads were unclogged.
MLA Prakash Goud, addressing the protestors, accused the state government of neglecting the norms set by the Central government of allowing plastic bags up to 40 microns.
Andhra Pradesh Plastic Manufacturers Association president V Anil Reddy and Kathedan Small Scale Manufacturers Association president Shivraj Singh told media persons that the state government’s decision to impose a ban on plastic bags would leave about 7.5 lakh employees in the industry without jobs.
“As many as 2,500 industries manufacturing plastic bags have come up within the limits of the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation. About 350 to 500 tons of plastic bags are manufactured in these industries and about 800 tons of plastic bags are imported from other states illegally,” they said.
The two leaders demanded that instead of banning the plastic bags outright, the government should act against the manufacturers who produce low quality bags and thus take care of the environment.
They also pointed out the manufacturing units have invested about Rs 2000 crore, taking loans from banks. “The entrepreneurs who have set up the businesses will go bankrupt, and the government which get revenue Rs 300 crore as excise duty will also lose out,” they pointed.
They also said that only 5 per cent of the citizens have the capacity to buy the jute bags, while 95 per cent of the people cannot afford it.(INN)