Soon, you’ll find yourself mopping the floors of a government office if you are caught spitting in its premises. Or, you could be sent to a nearby public hospital if you can’t hold your dribble back.
The Maharashtra government is planning to implement a new law that would ensure that those found spitting in public places will have to compulsorily take up community service.
Proposed by state health minister Dr Deepak Sawant, the law will carry both financial penalties as well as community service. Sawant said offenders will have to engage in community service in the very places they are found spitting. The proposed law, the minister said, may come into effect by December.
The state Cabinet on Tuesday decided to set a panel under Sawant, which will include consumer affairs minister Girish Bapat and water supply and sanitation minister Babanrao Lonikar, to sketch details of the proposed law.
“While we already have fines in place in many cities against spitting, the idea behind introducing community services is to embarrass offenders. For instance, if a doctor is found to be spitting in a public hospital and told to mop the floors there for a day, he will be very embarrassed,” said Sawant.
While the rules of the proposed law are yet to be finalised, Sawant said the public health department is planning punishments according to the number of offences. “A first time offender will have to cough up Rs 1,000 as fine and carry out community service for a day. A repeat offender will have to pay Rs 3,000 and serve three days while a third-time offender will have to pay Rs 5,000 and serve for five days,” Sawant said.
Sawant said the law will also act as a deterrent towards prevention of the spread of communicable diseases. “We were concerned owing to the rise and spread of diseases like swine flu, multi drug-resistant as well as extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis,” said the Shiv Sena legislator. The panel is aiming to finish drafting the rules within a month and introducing the law in the legislature’s monsoon session next month, a time frame that looks difficult to match.