When the entire country is reverberating with the “Swachh Bharat” slogan given by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the civic authorities are yet to strictly implement the laws against littering.
In was only in 2013 that the municipal corporation (MC) started issuing challans to people caught littering, despite having a provision to fine up to ` 1,000 for the offence.
As per MC records, a total of 900 challans were issued in 2013 followed by 875 challans so far this year, which, keeping in mind the mammoth populace of around 40 lakh is a bony figure.
Ludhiana has heaps of garbage in every nook and corner and casual approach towards keeping the environs clean has further augmented the problem manifold.
A family driving in a Mercedes car through the posh lanes, throwing banana peels on the road is a common site in this industrial city. But the residents or the market associations coming together to carry out regular activity for cleanliness is a rare happening. “How many times have the authorities concerned penalised the car drivers or passengers littering roads and where is the education for cleanliness,” questioned Dr Pradeep Sharma, a city resident.
CLEANLINESS DRIVE YET TO REACH GOVT OFFICES
At the same time, the cleanliness campaign which has been religiously taken up by the government is yet to take off on the premises of the government departments. Majority of the buildings, including that of the district administration, municipal corporation to civil hospitals, are not only littered with bits of papers, plastic bottles, edible waste but the walls covered with spitting stains point towards the squalid state of affairs.
SPITTING GOES UNCHECKED
From the walls of private offices to the corners of government offices and streets and roads of the city, every spot is freely used for spitting by a large number of gutka and ‘paan’ consumers.
What to speak of penalty, there is not even a board or notice car rying war ning for such individuals, which comes as an encouragement for the law breakers. So much so, that despite the tall claims to penalise people littering on the railway station, the authorities have not been successful to stop people from throwing trash or spitting on platforms.
“It is even worst in the trains as people do not miss a chance to spit near the doors,” shared Hari Dass, a regular train passenger.
A close look at the Shaheed Sukh Thapar Inter State Bus Terminal is also disappointing as all efforts of the bus stand authorities to keep it clean go in vain as passengers take the liberty to spit everywhere defeating all efforts to keep the bus stand clean.
ENSURE PROPER PUBLIC TOILETS
Absence of proper public toilets is another factor that has contributed to the unclean environs of the city.The destitute in the absence of toilets use open space and walls to attend to nature’s call. Various individuals and NGOs feel that a joint venture between private and government agencies is the only answer to a successful cleanliness campaign.
“Before imposing fine on defecating in the open, the government should ensure the provision of proper public toilets in every area,” opined city resident Anju Mahal.
She added that specific market associations should be given the responsibility for maintenance of these toilets as a nominal amount could be collected from users.
Voicing his thoughts, Col ( retd) Jasjit Singh Gill said, “The basic cleanliness subject should be started as a compulsory subject from class one up to graduation. It will be equally applicable to science and non- science streams. It should be a specialised subject getting technical, scientific, practical, vocation producing and interesting so as to produce specialised educated and trained cleanliness/ environment protection experts.”