Taking a huge step towards a cleaner India, the Centre has directed all States to start levying fines for littering, open defecation and public urination.
The Centre has also directed the States to implement these fines by April 30 so as to have an immediate effect.
The biggest reason for the BJP government to take this step is because PM Modi’s flagship ‘Swachh Bharat Mission’ is not being followed by people in urban areas.
The Centre has directed that the fines for littering or urinating in public places can invite penalties ranging from Rs.200 to Rs.5,000 and has sent out a communication regarding the same to all chief secretaries.
The urban development ministry has also asked states to impose these penalties in at least one ward of each city by April 30 and in all wards in all cities by September 30, 2018.
All states must ensure there are adequate number of public toilets and that door-to-door garbage collection facilities are provided to people.
They have also asked that adequate dustbins are provided at public places in every ward where the fines kick in.
The move though has sanitation experts Sulabh International worried; they believe fines should have been implemented after adequate sanitation facilities were ensured.
According to norms that were set by the ministry’s central public health and environmental engineering organisation, there should be one toilet in cities after every kilometre and an equal number of facilities should cater to both men and women.
Unfortunately that, at present, is not being followed. Though the Centre recently sent out the directive, few states have already taken steps to get situation under control. Rajasthan, since 2015, has been levying fines for littering and incorrect garbage disposal. Madhya Pradesh government has even asked officers to take away one’s ration card
if they are found repeating the offence.