Waste paper dealers demand exemption from lockdown

The All India Waste Paper Dealers Association (AIWPDA) has urged the Centre to include waste paper collection under essential services category.

25 Apr 2020 | By Aultrin Vijay

Paper mills dependent on domestic waste paper have been hit with unavailability of supplies

In a letter to the Centre, AIWPDA urged the government to make necessary provisions for scrap collectors or kabadiwalas to operate in green and orange zones of the country, in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis.

AIWPDA, which represents several small kabadiwalas and waste paper traders and dealers in the country, had earlier raised concerns over the complete lockdown and its aftermath to the scrap dealers and kabadiwalas. It had also highlighted the failure to cater to the paper mills' demand for recovered paper (RCP) due to the lockdown and the subsequent transportation curbs issued by the government.

While the paper manufacturing industry has been allowed to operate in most of the states under the classification of 'continuous process industries' during the lockdown, paper mills dependent on domestic waste paper have been hit with unavailability of supplies.

However, paper mills dependent on imported RCP have been running smoothly, the association said. Earlier, the Indian Newsprint Manufacturers Association had urged for prudent steps to discourage all import dumping from different countries. Instead, it asked companies to invest in India to accelerate domestic manufacturing growth and employment opportunities.

According to AIWPDA, domestic waste paper is recovered by door-to-door collection from households, offices, and institutions mainly by unorganised or unregistered scrap dealers. A major percentage of these scrap dealers are migrant labourers, who are right now unemployed due to the nationwide lockdown, which is slated to continue till 3 May 2020.

Naresh Singhal, president, AIWPDA, urged the Centre stating, "Kabadiwalas and waste paper traders with IDs/GST registration should be allowed to carry on their activities similar to municipal corporation staff engaged in collections of solid waste. Protective measures such as wearing masks, gloves and carrying hand sanitizers, and maintaining social distancing during collections can be strictly followed by the kabadiwalas."

"Also, due to unavailability of kabadiwalas during lockdown, huge amounts of waste paper, which is getting dumped in drains and landfills, results in wasting of crores of rupees in the time of economic crisis," he added.

"We again appeal to you and the learned council of ministers who are fighting this war against Covid-19 that please allow our brethren to earn their livelihood with respect and dignity and stand with India in fighting the economic crisis due to this pandemic," Singhal concluded.

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