Bengaluru: Govt to make, sell cloth bags as an alternative to plastic

Bengaluru: The Department of Handlooms and Textiles is planning to manufacture a large number of cloth bags as an alternative to plastic which is set to be completely banned in Karnataka in the days to come.

Since 2013, it has manufactured and sold one lakh cloth bags at its Priyadarshini outlets. Now, it plans to ask the government for funds to manufacture more cloth bags. Before that, it will conduct a survey to assess the demand, Commissioner for Textile Development and Director of Handlooms and Textiles R Raju told Deccan Herald.

“Through this ground survey, we will assess the demand for cloth bags in all cities and towns. Earlier, the government had sanctioned Rs one crore for the manufacture of cloth bags. After this survey, the exact amount of fabric and funds required will be known,” he said.

On March 21, 2013, the government had issued guidelines to all religious institutions to discourage plastic and encourage cloth bags. On April 30, 2014, the Commerce and Industries Department had issued guidelines and circulars to avoid use of plastic and  encourage the sale of cloth bags at government-run handloom stores. Following this, the textiles department manufactured over a lakh cloth bags and sold them.

The government had directed the Karnataka State Khadi and Village Industries Board (KSKVIB), the Karnataka Handlooms Development Corporation, the Cauvery Handlooms and the Handlooms and Textiles Department to manufacture, promote and sell cloth bags at subsidised rates.

The Karnataka State Pollution Control Board on May 23, 2014, issued a notification stating that cloth bags manufactured by the Karnataka Handlooms Development Corporation are an alternative to plastic carry bags. Its then chairman Vaman Acharya even issued an appeal to eliminate plastic bags, especially those below 40 microns.

M Jagannadha Rao, director of KSKVIB, said that so far no government department or individual had approached them for khadi or cloth bags. They manufacture bags of different sizes and sell them to educational and religious institutions.

KSPCB Chairman Lakshman said that they were waiting for the government order to enforce a strict ban on use and manufacture of plastic.

In the meantime, some resident welfare associations have taken it upon themselves to ban plastic. HSR Layout, Basavanagar and RR Nagar have become plastic-free. In some residential areas like Ulsoor, discarded school uniforms are being converted into reusable cloth bags.

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