Next week onwards, there may not be any clean up marshals to ensure people spitting or littering on Mumbai’s streets are fined.
Members of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) standing committee are unlikely to renew the contracts of clean up marshals, who were executing the civic body’s Clean Up campaign.
The contracts expire next week and the members and corporators are likely to oppose the renewal for 22 wards citing corruption and high-handedness among marshals as the reason.
The standing committee had cancelled the contracts of clean up marshals for Kurla and Chembur in August. “We will continue opposing clean up marshals. They unnecessarily harass people,” said standing committee Chairman Ravindra Waikar.
He said that the number of nuisance detectors, a group of 60-odd BMC employees monitoring the cleanliness drive, should be increased.
The Clean Up Campaign was launched in November 2007. The clean up marshals belonged to the six private security agencies. The marshals were authorised to fine people for spitting, urinating and littering in public places. There are at least 373 clean up marshals in the city who have collected Rs 6.9 crore as fines.
Additional Municipal Commissioner, R.A. Rajeev, said, “If corporators are against the project then they should suggest a better scheme to keep the city clean. The onus of keeping the city clean is upon each one of us.”
Citizen groups in the city feel that the campaign, though moderately successful, acted as a deterrent and should be continued. “At least we had a scheme in place,” said Niramala Joshi member of the Andheri Welfare group. “There could have been complaints against the marshals but we should find a better way of dealing with them. There is no point in scrapping the campaign,”
Senior civic officials, on the other hand, say that corporators are against the marshals because they have no control over them. “At times these marshals fine relatives or associates of these politicians but they [politicians] can’t exercise control over the marshals because they are private contractors,” said an official requesting anonymity.