NEW DELHI: Defecating in the open can attract a penalty soon as the Centre has proposed that the States should make relevant modifications in municipal by-laws on the lines of the mechanism adopted by Rajasthan to strengthen the Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan.
The Urban Development Minister sent a communication to all States on March 17, underlining that the campaign was time-bound. The Centre has set a target for imposing a penalty beginning April 31, 2016 in at least one ward in a city and covering all cities by September 30, 2018. The mission’s target is a clean India by 2019. It has suggested that a spot fine/penalty or cleaning charges be levied from citizens who defecate in the open in wards which have been declared free from open defecation. Besides, a penalty should be levied from people littering or dumping garbage in public spaces in wards declared litter-free. There should be 100 per cent routine door-to-door waste collection. Though the communication is silent on the amount of the penalty, sources indicated it could be in the Rs.100-200 range.
Addressing a programme at Mangalore last month, Union minister Venkaiah Naidu said that several people had told him that the Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan should not be limited to campaigns and there must be strict fines to make the drive more effective. “In Singapore, I’ve observed how people maintain cleanliness fearing hefty fines imposed on violators. Such rules are required in India,” he said.