TURA, Sep 05: Tura, which struggles annually with its perennial water problems, will have one less savior as the ban on plastic by the Deputy Commissioner has led to bottled water bottles going off shelves in the town. Interestingly cola bottles, chips packets amongst others are still out of the purview of the ban.
When contacted on the ban on the sale of water bottles, the Deputy Commissioner of West Garo Hills district (WGH), Ram Singh denied the charge saying the population of the town was doing it by themselves and there was no ban on sale of bottled water.
“We have not banned the sale of bottled water but the people are doing it by themselves. We have set up watering holes in quite a few places (DC office and the Super Market) in the town are looking to increase the numbers soon,” said Ram Singh when contacted.
Ground reality however pointed to a different story altogether. The DC’s order clearly mentions bottled water.
“We encourage the ban on plastic and are with the DC on the issue. However to stop bottled water from being sold is taking things a little too far. There are many people who come to Tura from outside and don’t know about the ban, where do they go to drink water,” said one of the shop keepers in Tura town.
Another shop keeper added that there was a fine of Rs 5000 for a violation and if the DC had not banned the sale of water bottles, then he should make the same clear. “It is too risky for us to keep a stock of water for sale as the Tura Municipal Board (TMB) enforces the ban and will fine us for keeping them. The order should clear out the ambiguities so that we can continue selling bottled water,” he said.
The DC had through an order sought to reduce the impact of plastic in the town – a move that was welcomed. However, the alleged ban on sale of bottled water has become another story altogether.
Another resident asked the DC as how he was sure that bottled water was being only for one time use.
“Many of us carry these same bottles back home and keep refilling it with water. And how can you ban the sale of water when there are no real alternatives in the town? This ban is discomforting a lot of us,” he said.
Another issue being faced by residents after the ban on plastic bags is the humungous charge being made on every 50+ micron plastic bag (which has been allowed).
“For a bag that can carry 2 kg, they are charging us Rs 5 where as the cost of the bag comes to about Rs 1. This is daylight robbery and cannot be encouraged,” said a resident.
Further the ban has led to meat and fish being packed in newspapers to be carried home, a health issue of bigger proportions than the ban itself.
“The carbon on the newsreel gets on to the meat we carry and that is as harmful for consumption as formalin. I recently made a purchase and had to throw it out after the carbon from the newspaper was all over the meat. There needs to be a solution to this as well,” added another resident.