For people in the 950 villages in Pune district, ‘Good Morning’ might soon come to mean something else.
The Pune zilla parishad has set up ‘good morning’ squads to keep an eye on people who forego private toilets for public places to relieve themselves. And if caught, they can be fined up to Rs 1,200.
According to the zilla parishad, the drive is to ensure that the benefits of the Nirmalgram scheme, launched by the state government, reach the maximum number of people. Pune zilla parishad chief executive officer Shyam Vardhane told HT it was mandatory for all the citizens to have private toilets under the Nirmalgram scheme and the government had offered subsidised loans up to Rs 2,500 for the purpose. But old habits die hard and zilla parishad functionaries fear that there might still be people who want to steal a walk to the nearby public place to relieve themselves in the morning.
To prevent this habit the flying good morning squads are in vigil in all 13 talukas in the district. Those found erring are fined Rs 1,200. About 100 people have been “charged” so far by the squads, Vardhane said.
However it seems that the government might first want to set its own house, nay toilets, in order. According to estimates, about 1,600 government employees are yet to construct toilets in their homes.
Vardhane said that as per a government resolution in 2006, it was mandatory for all government employees to have their own toilets, failing which a departmental inquiry can be initiated against the erring employee. The Pune zilla parishad has already served notice to 11 of its employees for not following the norm.
Dr Anant Phadke of Jan Arogya Abhiyan, however, has some different view about the drive undertaken by zilla parishad. “Encouraging people to use their own toilets is a good idea but charging them with fine is not only objectionable but illegal as well”, Dr Phadke said.