Mumbai: Clean-up marshals may be fined if public places are dirty

MUMBAI: To ensure that and high-footfall areas remain litter-free, the plans to penalize if garbage is found strewn on the spots they are monitoring.

Clean-up marshals can fine citizens caught spitting, defecating or littering in public places, but at present there’s no system to check if they are doing their work effectively. Besides, there have been complaints about some marshals not issuing receipts and extorting money from tourists. In fact, that was the reason the first clean-up marshal scheme launched in 2007 was discontinued by the BMC in 2011.

The scheme was again brought back in July 2016, with the BMC inviting bids to deploy 30 marshals in each of the 24 wards. However, an official said, “In the past, some areas were found littered despite the presence of marshals. This defeats the purpose of the scheme, so we are planning a mechanism to pull up marshals for dereliction of duty.”

Now, as the two-year contracts for most of the civic wards have ended, officials of the solid waste management department said they are considering introducing a clause in the tender to penalize the clean-up marshal agency if its area is repeatedly found unclean. The quantum of the penalty is yet to be decided.

The civic body also wants to ensure areas are monitored through the day. So the new contract may stipulate that in every shift there are at least 15 marshals. The marshals are generally positioned in two shifts: 8am-4 pm and 4 pm -10pm. The civic body also plans to make it mandatory that the marshals have completed class 12.

Besides, the BMC wants to increase the deposit amount for the contractors. At present, the clean-up marshal agencies deposit Rs 1 lakh to get fine receipt books. Now, it may be increased to Rs 2 lakh. “Fine receipt books issued to the agency is worth a certain amount, so we collect a deposit from them,” an official said adding that the proposal will soon be sent for administrative approval after which it will be tabled before the standing committee.

Since the whole process from approval to selecting contractors will take time, the civic body will seek extension for existing contractors for next four months. “At most wards the scheme has ended, so you will not find any marshal on field. So, we are proposing an extension to the existing scheme,” said an official.
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