The Asom Durniti Nibarok Prakiti Suraksha Samiti, a relatively unknown entity asking people not to sell and use plastic bags in Jorhat from November 1, has created confusion among the traders and common people here.
The organisation has put up banners in different places of the town in which it is written that storing, selling and using polythene bags in the district from November 1 has been banned.
Without a directive from the district administration or from a court of law backing this ban, traders are both confused and worried about such a ban and are undecided about what to do.
The banners written in Assamese further state that people are expected to cooperate and not to violate the law.
It is not known to which law this organisation is referring to as the the District Magistrate of Jorhat has not issued any fresh notification banning plastic bags with several industries manufacturing plastic bags here.
A source said that an organization declaring a ban and then invoking the law tantamount to that organisation assuming legal authority which it does not have.
A trader said that no individual or organisation can issue a prohibition order without legal sanction. A group of traders are planning to approach the district administration in this regard.
Another trader was of the opinion that this could be the work of a few individuals who were functioning under this banner with the motive of extorting money from shopkeepers by “threatening them for violating the ban on polythene carry bags which they themselves had spread about”.
A lawyer here said that no person or organization had the authority to prohibit anything. All that they could do was to make a request or appeal to not use plastic or smoke cigarettes or anything else which is considered harmful to man and environment.
A senior administration officer here said that they had been apprised of the matter and legal action would be initiated soon.