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HindustanTimes Thu,17 Apr 2014

Litterbugs beware, clean-up marshals to be back on streets

Poorvi Kulkarni, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, March 30, 2013
First Published: 01:17 IST(30/3/2013) | Last Updated: 01:19 IST(30/3/2013)

You will once again have to pay the price for littering on streets or making the city dirty.

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Nearly a year after the old contracts expired in July last year, the civic body is once again set to revive its clean-up marshal scheme - which deploys marshals from private agencies across the city to fine citizens who litter in public places. The reworked scheme will be implemented in the next two months.

And if all goes as per plan, complaints of high-handedness by marshals – which had invited criticism to the plan earlier, will no longer be a cause of concern.

“The proposal has been finalised and will be tabled in the standing committee soon, for final approval. We will sensitise marshals to ensure they conduct themselves better, for the effective functioning of the scheme,” said Mohan Adtani, additional municipal commissioner.

The clean-up marshal scheme was first introduced in 2007 but faced much flak owing to the reported unruly conduct of marshals – who allegedly charged exorbitant fines and behaved rudely with citizens.

Two major changes that have been introduced this time to improve the scheme include involvement of more agencies to deploy marshals to break the monopoly of fewer agencies, as was the earlier practice; and imposing heavier fines on agencies for flouting contract norms.

“Twenty agencies will be emp-loyed under the scheme this time as compared to six agencies before, said a senior official from the solid waste management department, BMC.

Officials said the active involvement of Advanced Locality Managements (ALMs) and citizen groups was imperative for smooth functioning of the scheme. “Since ALMs know their localities well, they must coordinate with the marshals to maintain cleanliness,” said the official.

Activists have welcomed the move. “There may have been isolated cases of ill-behaviour, but marshals were largely an asset to the city,” said Anandini Thakoor, managing trustee, Khar Residents' Association (KRA).

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