The Madras High Court on Friday ordered the District Collector, Nilgiris, to carry out surprise inspections and immediately close and seal the stores that are selling banned plastic items.
A division bench of Justices V Bharathidasan and N Satish Kumar gave the direction when the batch of public interest writ petitions from social activists came up for further hearing.
The District Collector, appearing through video conferencing, informed the judges that over ₹1.25 lakh had been collected towards fines from the traders who violated the directive. However, despite their best efforts, some vendors continue to sell banned plastic items, including water bottles.
The Division Bench also came down heavily on Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation (Tasmac) for continuing to sell liquor in plastic bottles in the Nilgiris. The judges warned the corporation of ordering the closure of all liquor shops in the district.
In 2019, water vending machines were installed across the district and reduce the amount of plastic waste.
When asked if these water ATMs were working, the collector said that there are 66 water ATMs in Nilgiris district. He also informed that a person has been appointed to ensure and maintain the operation of each ATM. He also said that steps have been taken to install 64 new water vending machines. The bench replied that it would like to personally visit all working and newly installed ATMs during the physical inspection to be held on April 8.