As the monsoon arrives in Mumbai, the authorities in Mumbai and Mumbaikars begin preparations for it. It starts from inspecting the foot Over bridges, road bridges, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) holding several meetings discussing the disaster mitigation measures, repairing the potholes, etc. Now, the BMC has come up with another measure to cope up with the littering of drains by the localites.
At a pre-monsoon preparedness meeting that was held in May this year, Municipal Commissioner Praveen Pardeshi said that the ones who litter the drains, despite BMC’s repeated requests must be penalized. He had also suggested cutting off the water supply in the areas where residents continue to throw garbage in the drains.
BMC has decided to fine the localites who are found littering the drains. As per the decision, the culprits would be booked on the spot by the police. According to BMC officials, each of the 24 wards across Mumbai will have one dedicated- Nuisance Detection Squad.
“Each of these 24 squads will comprise of four to five members including a police constable. This squad will continuously move all over the ward and especially target areas near slum pockets, nullahs, railway stations, areas alongside the railway tracks, public space and others where the offenders found littering will be booked on the spot and immediate action will be taken against them,” said Deputy Municipal Commissioner (Solid Waste Management) Ashok Khaire and he also added that coordination with the Mumbai police has already been done.
He also informed that a proper Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) has been made, which will be followed by the squad that will be trained specifically to ensure that these drives are successful in maintaining cleanliness and restricting people from dumping garbage across the city. As per civic officials, the ones found guilty of dumping garbage could face a fine of Rs. 1200 under the Mumbai Police Act if found guilty.
However several councillors appreciated the step, stating that this will prove to be a good deterrent as the presence of cops will add more efficiency to the BMC’s drive against garbage dumping. Many, though, expressed dissatisfaction that the BMC cannot simply rely on penalising without providing a solution to the waste management crisis being faced by the city.
The councillors also suggested the ways of waste management in the meeting. A councillor said, “The city needs more dustbins and effective waste collection system from these dustbins on the streets, which are left unattended. Also several slums don’t have any waste collection and people are forced to dump garbage on the street and hence BMC first needs to prioritise its waste collection system in slums and if the people still dump garbage then fine them.”, quoted a media report.
He also added that penalizing the offenders for littering the drains will only last for a few months and consequently won’t show desired results of the city looking clean and being garbage free. Meanwhile, several activists are also not convinced with the involvement of police and penalising the offenders. Advocate and activist Godfrey Pimenta said that most of the garbage dumping takes place at night. “BMC should cover the nullahs with a net,” he added.
On the other hand, the BMC officials said that the decision to involve the police was made as locals refused to listen. It is essential that drains remain clean so that rainwater can flow smoothly, they added. “A man in uniform accompanying us would discourage people from throwing trash into drains. We have been cleaning the drains every year before monsoon, but they overflow with garbage within a few days,” said an official.
According to the reports this year, the BMC has also decided to put up photographic evidence of cleaned nullahs on the MCGM 24X7 app. Citizens can upload photographs of the same nullahs for comparison. If the BMC evidence proves false, action can be taken.