More than four months after the clean-up marshals scheme was discontinued over charges of corruption, the civic standing committee has cleared an altered version of the scheme on Friday, which drastically reduces the powers given to clean-up marshals.
In the new scheme, a ward officer has been appointed to supervise the activities of these marshals. The maximum fine the clean-up marshals can impose has been brought down from Rs25,000, to Rs10,000.
Additionally, it is no longer under their jurisdiction to fine doctors for medical waste and developers for debris, as most complaints of harassment by the marshals came from these sectors. Also, while earlier the marshal could monitor the place of their choice, under the new and improved scheme, 30% of the total marshal population in one ward will be manning locations decided by the ward officer. There are around 25 clean-up marshals in every ward.
However, despite clearing the proposal, the corporators remain skeptical about the usefulness of the campaign.
The scheme, introduced, in 2007 came under fire last year and was discontinued.
Congress corporator Sameer Desai said that instead of bringing about awareness and inducing clean habits amongst citizens, the focus of the drive had shifted to collecting fines. “Is this a drive to make the city clean or to earn revenue? The scheme has not even resulted into one clean street in the city,” Desai had said.
Standing committee chairman Rahul Shewale said that only men who can read and write Marathi should be inducted as marshals.
Additional municipal commissioner Manisha Mhaiskar said that the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation would ensure that marshals do not misuse the scheme. Also, a new clause has been introduced, wherein even the marshals or their appointing agency can be fined for wrongdoing, such as not wearing a uniform on duty or not depositing 50% of the fine amount with the ward office on time. The appointment of the marshals will be done after verifying their criminal record with the police and the marshal has to have passed Class 10 as a minimum qualification.