New Delhi: Andhra Pradesh’s Tirupati, the abode of Lord Venkateshwara, is an important tourist and pilgrimage destination in India and therefore sees inflow of tourists throughout the year. Apart from being a famous religious town, it is also a major economic hub in the district. Owing to the heavy footfall the city is prone to rampant open urination despite of Open Defecation Free status since 2016, but the Municipal Corporation of Tirupati (MTC) aims to tackle this problem by imposing fines. The violators are being fined Rs 100 for urinating in the open. Even though this law came in action in 2016, it is being reinforced to strictly keep a check on open urination.
MCT is using technology to its advantage to improve the sanitation condition of the city with the MCT Collect APP, focused on fine collection and monitoring. The app has innovative features like paper less receipt system, where the fine receipts are issued through SMS and email.
Thanks to the app, there is an increased transparency and accountability levels for the MCT staff. The fine collection can be monitored centrally and potential and vulnerable spots can be identified based on the geo-tagging of fines collected, Mr. Manohar added.
Since the inception of the App, the total fines collected for urination is Rs 20,000 from around 200 violators.
It is important to note that, there is not even a single woman among the fined indicating they more conscious about avoiding this habit of public urination which the men folk are still unable to discard, Mr. Manohar said.
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TMC, over the last few years has facilitated the construction of public toilets and urinals at all major locations in the city to cater to the needs of the people, the toilets are accessible and within 500 meters from all major public areas in the city. 522 toilets have been built throughout the city, under the Swachh Bharat Mission, S. Manohar, Secretary, MTC told NDTV.
“It was also noticed that open urination was happening in the vicinity of the public toilets, ruling out the issue of unavailability of facilities, the corporation has decided to tackle the issue of open urination seriously,” he added.
TMC has deployed a special task force for curbing the menace. 10 Special Sector Officers and 22 Sanitary Inspectors have been given the responsibility of ensuring that open urination is completely eliminated. At the ward level, sanitary supervisors are given the powers to collect fines from the violators.
The corporation is also taking steps to ensure that all the existing toilets are functional, user friendly and well maintained. However, to curb the menace of open urination we need more than just toilets. We require a mindset change from the citizens, he added.
The MCT has also identified the vulnerable spots and has deployed the task force to monitor these problematic spots. Toilets / urinals were constructed near these spots with the objective of providing the necessary facilities. Major beautification activities like planting and painting of walls are under way.
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To make sure people are aware about the fine, signage boards will be put up at every 50 metres, to indicate the distance to the nearest toilet.
To keep the public urination in check, sign boards in regional languages as well as English and Hindi will be put up in the areas like bus stand, railway station, temples among other public places, where the pilgrim movement is heavy, Mr Manohar said.
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.