The complete ban on plastic has hit hard the fruits, vegetables and grocery vendors in city. Thanks to paper cover makers who have almost vanished from city with the arrival of plastic carry bags decades ago.
Though the demand for paper covers have gone up in the wake of plastic ban, there is no or very less supply of it in the market. Newspaper sellers in Santhepet and Shivarampet are sending back vendors empty hand due to non availability of paper bags.
Newspaper bags are comparatively cheaper and affordable than clothbags, thus the demand has gone up. A kg of paper bag is being presently sold for Rs 30 for which one can get about 120 medimum sized covers that can carry 1.5 kg weight. For the same prize they get around 75 paper covers of big size, with capacity to hold upto 3 kg. On the other hand one kg of cloth bags cost around Rs 155 to Rs 175, and the number of pieces they get is also less compared to paper bag. Thus, the small and medium vendors are preferring the newspapers bag.
Muskmellon seller Srinivas says: 'We are small vendors. We sell fruits and vegetables earning a meager margin of Rs 2 to Rs 5. If we pay Rs 1 for cloth bag, then we do not gain much. Still only very few number of people carry bags along with them, while majority of them ask carry bags from vendors.'
Banana seller Muniraju says: 'Due to ban we have stopped using plastic cover to pack fruits and vegetables purchased by the customer. With non availability of newspaper covers we are facing severe hardship in our daily sales. There are instances where consumer leave without purchasing due to non-availability of cover.'
Rekha, a volunteer of an NGO named Segregation of Waste and Composting at Home (SWCH) said that there is severe dearth of manpower to take up manufacturing of newspaper bags. 'Though we are creating awareness and encouraging NGOs and SHGs to take up making paper bags due to the ban on plastic, they are still hesitant to come forward doubting the ban might be for short time.'
Another Volunteer Sindhu adds: Though Corporation is promoting use of cloth bags it should also motivate people to make paper bags and take steps to make it available in markets. Or else this will severely affect the profit of small vendors.
Newspaper sellers Ramesh says: 'It has become hard to find out people engaged in making newspaper carry bags. Five decades ago, there were people who made paper covers for a living. Now, we are looking forward to them again.'
Another paper bag seller Raghav says: 'Dozens of vendors, petty shop owners, and general store people are approaching us every day seeking paper bags. Though the demand for newspaper covers has gone up, non availability of paper covers has made us to send the vendors empty hand.'
Corporation has taken steps to make the cloth bags available in the market. Vendors opine similar measures should be taken to make paper carry bags available in market.
Speaking to Express, MCC Commissioner Dr CG Betsurmath suggested vendors to make paper bags of their own, adding, they will think over what can be done.
'The Corporation has distributed more than 1000 sewing machines to people belonging to SC/ST. They will be roped in to stitch cloth bags, and they will be provided clothes and incentives. About 300 tailors have come forwards and soon they will be provided clothes to stitch bags, which indeed will be circulated to all shops in the city soon,' he added.