‘No questions, no excuses’: the squad enforcing Mumbai’s ban on plastic
At 10am on a muggy October morning, Crawford Market, one of Mumbai’s oldest, is stirring into life.
In a first floor office inside the complex, the feared “blue squad” has assembled, forming a semi-circle around their boss, Anand Shinde, who is pumping them up. At 10.30am, the phalanx, dressed in blue uniforms, hurries down the wooden staircase and hits the streets around the market. Their target: shopkeepers and street vendors using plastic bags.
The blue squad – middle-aged and greying – may not look intimidating but their weapon, a hefty 5,000 rupee (£52) fine, has reduced grown men to begging, they say. They move swiftly, striding into shops, rifling under the counter and, if they find plastic bags, impose a fine on the shopkeeper.
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(Photo credit: Amrit Dhillon)