Kolkata: Littering In Public? You May Soon Have To Pay Upto Rs 1 Lakh As Fine
Very soon, throwing garbage and spitting in Kolkata streets can soon become an expensive affair as the West Bengal Assembly on November 22 passed a bill which proposes to impose fine of minimum Rs 5,000 and maximum Rs 1 lakh on offenders.
Hike in fine rates for littering in public spaces
Reportedly, the amount for penalties has been raised by an amendment to section 338 of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (second amendment) Act. Earlier the penalty amount ranged from Rs 50 to Rs 5,000. The clause specifically deals with solid waste which is mostly wrapped in plastic. Moreover, KMC has also started awareness drives by putting up posters in prominent places.
The state is reportedly of the opinion that the hike in fines is going to keep citizens from throwing garbage on the roads. Moreover, all prosecutions under the Kolkata Municipal Corporation is looked after by the municipal courts.
While West Bengal Prohibition of Smoking and Spitting and Protection of Health of Non-Smokers and Minors Act, 2001 has a clause for penalties, it is fairly uncommon to see arrests made under it. According to The Times Of India, the move of escalating the fine comes days after West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee formed an 11-member committee headed by chief secretary Moloy De. The committee was handed the task of suggesting stricter measures of checking littering and spitting in public spaces.
The Chief Minister expressed her displeasure over the fact that the newly inaugurated Dakshineswar skywalk was littered with spits and betel juice just a day after it had been inaugurated.
A senior KMC official told the daily that during functions and events, garbage is dumped in public spaces. It also poses a great risk of contracting diseases. The official said that there needs to be some kind of accountability.
The daily also reported that 15-year-old anti-spitting law is also likely to see a hike in penalty rates. A first time offender attracts a fine of Rs 1,000, which an official has said is “hardly deterrent.” Kolkata was recently in news for surpassing Delhi to become the most polluted city in India.
Pune municipal have started a new initiative where people spitting would be made to clean their own muck and will be fined Rs 100. Under the leadership of ward officer of Bibwewadi area of Pune, Avinash Sakpal, municipal officials have launched the program. Till now 25 people have been punished for spitting on the street.
While efforts are being made by various civic bodies to impose stricter punishments, most of the time, it proves to be futile as implementation is where they fall short. Laws mean nothing if they are not implemented with an iron fist. At the same time, citizens have to be aware of the ill-effects of throwing litter in public spaces.