Even a week after the Retailers Association of India (RAI) has rolled in its initiative to discourage usage of plastic bags, leading retail stores like Shoppers Stop and Hypercity continue their free-for-all policy, in violation of the industry body’s diktat and the Union government’s notification.
While leading retail chains like Future Group’s Pantaloon and Aditya Birla Group’s More store are taking the tough path of incurring the customer’s wrath by charging for the plastic bags-the first step towards encouraging customers to bring their own bags-Shoppers Stop and Hypercity are shunning their responsibility and continuing to give free plastic bags.
Says the store manager of one of the leading retail chains, “The disregard on part of stores like Shoppers Stop and Hypercity in implementing the new initiative is not only bad for other retailers like us, but eventually also for the consumer and the environment. By violating the code, these stores are sending out wrong signals and derailing the entire effort to discourage the use of plastic bags.”
Incidentally, Shoppers Stop vice-chairman BS Nagesh is also the chairman of RAI and a member of its statutory board. The new notification introduced by the retailers’ association, which came into effect on July 1, urges retailers to start charging anywhere between Re1 and Rs7 for every plastic bag, in keeping with the central government’s notification in February. “Given that this is the pilot project and the success of the drive in Mumbai will lead to a nationwide campaign, it is even more important that every major retailer joins hands for the sake of the environment,” said an industry observer, taking exception to the stance adopted by retailers like Shoppers Stop and Hypercity.
After unsuccessful attempts in the past by civic authorities to discourage the use of plastic bags, this is the first time that a drive is being implemented at the industry level and across all major retail establishments. If similar drives in the western countries are an indication, this drive will reduce the consumption of lakhs of plastic bags everyday.
When asked to comment on retailers like Shoppers Stop and Hypercity not executing the initiative, a spokesperson of RAI said, “We have firm commitments from all the members. There could have been a delay in implementation due to logistical reasons.” Meanwhile, the Shoppers Stop and Hypercity officials refused to comment.
Source : DNA