No money to pay fine? Sweep the street clean

When two offenders failed to pay the fine for spitting in public near Ghatkopar railway station, the clean up officials made them sweep the area they had soiled

'Clean up after yourself.' More and more, this is the dictum being strictly enforced by BMC clean-up marshals who are tired of careless citizens littering the city streets that they struggle to keep clean.

When two offenders were nabbed in the act of spitting near the premises of the Ghatkopar (East) station, they were given two options: pay up or clean up.

LESSON LEARNT: Vinod Gawde (above) insisted that this was a stray
incident, and promised
to never soil the city again.
Pic /Sayed Sameer Abedi

Unable to cough up the fine of Rs 200, they had to clean up their act, quite literally.

The BMC marshals caught Vinod Gawde and Hamid Sheikh when they were conducting their customary inspection in Ghatkopar (East).

Asif Gujle, superintendent of the clean up marshals in the North and South wards, said, "Most people know that the clean up marshals are regularly doing the rounds near the station premises; but such is their apathy that they keep repeating their revolting actions. If they fail to pay the fine of Rs 200, our marshals offer them the alternative of sweeping the filth left behind by them. By making them clean up the mess they have created, we hope to shame them into conformity, and prevent them for committing the same mistake again."

Gawde said, "I have a bad habit of chewing tobacco, and often spit the remains out in dustbins placed all across the city by the BMC. But I was in a rush to get to work today. Not noticing that clean up marshals were watching nearby, I spit in the open. I was then asked to sweep the area. It was embarrassing for me, but I have to pay the price for my mistake. I have learnt a lesson. I will never repeat the mistake of spitting in a public place again."

Gujle added, "Most of the offenders are arrogant when nabbed, and refuse to pay the fine, or sweep up their mess. When we fail to coerce them, we drag them to the nearest police station. This creates enough panic in them to force them to pay."

BMC's Chief Engineer for Solid Waste Management, Bhalchandra Patil said, "Generally, people who are caught spitting and littering are asked to pay a pre-determined amount as fine. Making them sweep the premises soiled by them is a great idea. This initiative is sure to make the offenders feel either guilt or embarrassment, and is sure to lead to a decline in the number of such cases."

Rs 200
The amount of fine the BMC levies on the citizens who litter the streets

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