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Mumbai to wield the stick where littering is concerned

March 10, 2007

The Mumbai Muncipal Corporation has finally decided to be strict about littering. And ofcourse the richie rich dogs’ poop has to be cleaned up by their owners. Though BMC bye-laws do say that there is a fine of Rs 500/- for littering, Mumbai citizens have generally been ignoring it.

And one of the reasons is ignorance of the law. Therefore the muncipality is going out of its way to publicise the issue. The truth is however that few policemen have the courage to confront the bigwigs who regularly walk their dogs on Marine Drive. They had their fingers burnt recently when they tried to discipline the well known journalist Tavleen Singh who protested against the fine, telling the police that the whole of Mumbai litters so why is she being picked on? Well the police are going to pick on more ‘important’ people, including IAS officers. But they want to handle this issue delicately and have decided to issue pamphlets publicising the enforcement of the bye-law. Quoting from a Mumbai Mirror report:

To solve their problem, additional municipal commissioner R A Rajeev and assistant commissioner ‘A’ ward, Vijay Balamwar printed a pamphlet that stated: anyone who allows his pet to litter in a public place will have to clean up the poop or pay a fine of Rs 500. These pamphlets were distributed to all the IAS officers’ houses in Yashodhan.
Balamwar said this was the only way to make people aware about the cleanliness bye-laws. Marine Drive is a VIP road and is BMC’s top priority in the cleanliness drive. Without informing the people we cannot force a fine on them, hence we informed them about the bye-laws through a pamphlet, he added.

Its about time really. My daughter who studies in a college in South Mumbai just off Marine Drive tells me that when she reaches her classes in the morning at eight a.m. she and her fellow college mates have to do a virtual jig to avoid stepping on the oodles of dog shit on the pavement outside their college.

However this drive of the BMC cannot work unless citizens cooperate. In fact some people actually told the Mumbai Mirror that they would refuse to clean if asked to do so as the idea was a humiliating one. Well, one can just hope that they don’t litter the streets then!

Update: The BMC is going to hire a private agency to enforce the cleanliness drive so those who think that this drive is going to die down better watch out before they throw that piece of paper in a public place! Also, 6000 new garbage bins are to be installed all over Mumbai and garbage transportation is set to improve with the purchase of 800 new vehicles, including compactors. The new bins are to be better than the old ones because they are supposedly cow-proof. 🙂 Around Rs 400 crore is earmarked for this cleanliness drive.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. March 11, 2007 1:42 pm

    hi nita,

    after reading this article, i come to know that you are concerned about the social welfare.. i just started reading your blogs and liked them all.. seeing people like you are a rare sight nowadays.
    Have you seen those mindless beggars walking around the traffic signals of mumbai with new born [rented for money] babies demanding a penny? can you write an article about them? Some people say ‘What can I possibly do?’ after seeing these mindless creeps. I wanted to know how you feel about them. I want to do something to stop this. When I tell this to people, they all laugh at me.. they ask me `why do you care about them?` I don’t like to explain anything to them. I guess itz hard to make them understand.. i just want your views.

  2. March 11, 2007 2:30 pm

    I think its wonderful that you want to do something for the social welfare of the country. There are many social service organisations that are working towards this. There is this organisation called Pratham which you can contact. They will be more in a position to guide you:
    Where begging is concerned, I am completely against it. For one thing, a good percentage of the beggars are not destitute. They are part of a larger racket where they prefer to beg because its easier than doing other work. They often force their children to beg or as you say they ‘hire’ babies. But at the same time they are exploited and have to part with some of their earnings to the beggar mafia and to the police. There are some genuine destitutes though.
    Another point: a very large percentage of these ‘beggars’ come from other states and also from Bangla Desh, where there is so much poverty that they cannot get their two meals a day. At least in Mumbai they can get their two meals a day. Also, as these people are uneducated and untrained for other work, they beg. Its a very complex problem really. They are really the unfortunates of society and there is no quick solution to this. All one can do is help organisation that rehabilitate and train these ‘beggars’. Its best to catch them as children because once they are adults, they often resist attempts to change their way of life.

  3. March 12, 2007 12:06 am

    exactly nita.. i have heard of these organisations.. i am a member of ( worldvision ) )..
    i feel good about myself that i have some kindness with me.. i am helping for one girl child to get educated thru this organisation.. i wish to help more.. but i am just a fresh graduate.. what i earn maps exactly to what i spend.. may be i’ll try to stop spending lavishly so that it goes for those who really needs it.. for a good cause.. there must be some meaning in getting paid!

    thanks for the reply,

    [ your blog is one of my favoutires.. keep on writing for all of us!! ]

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