On Saturday, the State Urban Development Department (UD) of Maharashtra issued a Government Resolution (GR) allowing civic officers to fine citizens for throwing garbage and spitting in open spaces. This order followed after the Swachha Maharashtra Campaign allows the Urban Civic bodies to impose a fine of Rs. 500 for open defecation and Rs. 200 for urinating in public.
The activists claim this is an attempt to shift the blame onto the citizens. They said the Civic Bodies have not finished constructing toilets. The GR says, “The Government has undertaken the Swachha Maharashtra Campaign on the lines of Swachh Bharat Campaign. Providing individual or public toilets where there are none and keeping the city clean through effective solid waste management are two major parts of this drive.”
It is said the Civic Bodies are segregating wet and dry waste for effective disposal. They expect the people to take part actively and the ones who do not cooperate will be fined as per the Solid Waste Management (SWM) rules, 2016.
The Convener of Pani Haq Samiti, Sitaram Shelar said, “One cannot find a bigger lie than this. We’ve been petitioning the Civic Body, State Government and even the Prime Minister’s Office to construct toilets in many city areas, but to no avail. I challenge Civic Officers to prove that most slum have toilets. This is an attempt to make a scapegoat of citizens to cover up their incompetency.”
Shelar cited Siddharth Nagar in Andheri as an example and said the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) did not build toilets here despite the orders from the Prime Minister’s Office. He further added, “The BMC has a circular clearly stating that it cannot provide toilets and water to bastis (slums) erected after January 1, 2000. What type of ODF area are they talking about?”
The people found guilty of throwing garbage, dirt or waste on the roads will be fined on the spot. The fine amount ranges from Rs. 150 to Rs. 180 depending on the guilt.