While the ban on the plastic carry bags, doma wrappers, and ice cream pouches take effect from April 1, there is already confusion in major urban areas, the finance minister said yesterday.

Finance minister Namgay Tshering said the government has received complaints from certain individuals in Phuentsholing claiming that once the ban on plastic takes effect from April 1, strict monitoring would be done from door to door and defaulters penalised.

The three ministers of finance, agriculture and economic affairs ministries met to discuss over these complaints, to direct their staff and quash any misinformation.

“There is a lot of confusion being created in the major urban areas on the plastic ban initiative,” lyonpo said.

He said that certain communities are already blaming the government for reinforcing the ban despite it failing badly in the past.

People were told that now with the reinforcement of the ban, there would strict vigilance and every individual would be fined, he said.

“The government has not said that there would be door to door inspection,” he said, adding that the National Environment Commission (NEC) has stated that they are reinforcing the ban implemented in 1999 on certain kinds of plastic.

“For the time being, I have instructed the revenue and customs officials not to give such information,” he said.

NEC has maintained that the ban is on business establishments and not on customers, who reuse and carry their own plastic bags.

Fines would be imposed only on the shopkeeper who packs and gives the customers the purchased items in a plastic carry bag.

According to the NEC secretariat, any business establishment found selling or using the carry bags and plastic pouches for wrapping doma after April 1 will be fined Nu 500 for the first offence.

The fine for the second offence is double the amount or Nu 1,000. On the third violation, the business licence of the firm would be cancelled.

The prime minister’s office is also working on a major flagship programme on waste management which is also expected to address the stray dog problems in the country.

Tshering Palden