New Delhi: Mahesh Kumar who hails from the eastern suburb of Ahmedabad – Naroda, was chewing tobacco as he left his house. Without realising that he is under the surveillance of a CCTV camera installed at the Sardar Patel Statue Road, he spat the pan-masala on the streets out of habit, as millions of Indians do on a daily basis. In a one-of-its-kind case, the Amdavad Municipal Corporation (AMC) imposed fine on Mahesh Kumar for spitting, after catching him in the act on a CCTV camera.
To set a ‘swachh’ example in the city, it didn’t take AMC long to issue an e-memo against him for violation of public health laws. Mahesh Kumar was then caught and fined a sum of Rs.100 for spitting pan masala in a public place.
The civic body of Ahmedabad, which recently won the title of ‘cleanest big city’ (population >10 lakhs) in the Swachh Survekshan 2019, claimed that this is the first such case in the country, where a citizen has been fined for spitting. Earlier this year, the civic body had also imposed fines on citizens caught urinating in public places, and successfully becoming the first city in Gujarat to achieve Open Defecation Free Plus status.
Recognising the severity of the act in India, a parliamentary panel back in February, had recommended that a law to penalise those found spitting, urinating and throwing garbage in public places should be introduced. The panel had stated,
Union Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry, which is mandated to implement the Swachh Bharat Mission in urban areas of the country, should make a nationwide legislation on SBM to ensure and enforce the desired level of cleanliness and providing a legal backing to the SBM under which municipalities can punish those found spitting, urinating and throwing garbage in public places.
How many times in a day do you see people spitting tobacco on the streets or against the walls? The act is such a common sight in India, that people often do not realise how problematic it is to maintain cleanliness and hygiene in public places because of it. To cope with the issue, several other states, including Maharashtra, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal among others, had also announced their plans of penalising and imposing fines on such cases in 2018.
With inputs from IANS.
NDTV – Dettol Banega Swachh India campaign lends support to the Government of India’s Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM). Helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan, the campaign aims to spread awareness about hygiene and sanitation, the importance of building toilets and making India open defecation free (ODF) by October 2019, a target set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, when he launched Swachh Bharat Abhiyan in 2014. Over the years, the campaign has widened its scope to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and menstrual hygiene. The campaign has also focused extensively on marine pollution, clean Ganga Project and rejuvenation of Yamuna, two of India’s major river bodies.