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Answer nature's call but not literally amidst nature!

Wednesday, January 03, 2018
By Prashant Hamine

Beware, next time you try to answer nature's call in the open and indulge in open defecation, spit in public places or throw garbage on roads, you will have to pay Spot Fines ranging from Rs 150 to Rs 500. In a Government Resolution (GR) issued by the Urban Development Department on December 30 last year, the government has now empowered Municipal Corporations and Municipal Councils across the state to levy Spot Fines on people and institutions under the provisions of Solid Waste Management Act, 2016 with immediate effect. The spot fines for A,B,C & D category of civic bodies is identical.

From now on, any person or institutions found guilty of throwing garbage, dirt or waste material on roads and highways shall have to pay spot fines ranging between Rs 150 to Rs 180. Anyone found spitting in public places will have to pay spot fines ranging between Rs 100 to Rs 150. Answering nature's call or urinating in public will attract a spot fine ranging between Rs 100 to Rs 200, while defecating in the open will attract a spot fine of Rs 500.

Enlarging the scope of implementation of the provisions of the Solid Waste Management Act, 2016, the GR states that besides the words or phrases used in the GR, those words not mentioned herein, their meaning mentioned in Environment Act, 1986, Water (Prevention of Pollution and Control) Act, 1981 and all other Waste Management rules, acts and regulations shall be applicable herein also. The word “dirt” includes all waste products, dirt and uncleanliness and all such uncleanliness that shall create hindrance to public order, environment and public health. The act of creating dirt includes garbage, dirt thrown recklessly, spread around or foul smell emanating garbage.

The government argues that under the provisions of Solid Waste Management Act, 2016, it is empowered to grant powers to civic bodies to levy spot fines and has powers to lay down the amount of fines chargeable. The GR states that on the lines of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by the Center, the state too has launched its own Abhiyan. Under the program, those families which do not have their own toilets, are to be provided with personal or public toilet facilities, thereby making cities as Open Defecation Free (ODF). It may be recalled that on October 1, 2017, the President of India had declared the entire urban Maharashtra as Open Defecation Free.

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