Shimla shows the way to curb spitting in public
Made punishable offence under disaster management Act to check spread of Covid-19
Spitting in public is an offence under municipal laws in various cities with Shimla being the first to ban it way back in 2007. On Wednesday, the Union home ministry made spitting in public a punishable offence under the strict Disaster Management Act in its revised guidelines for the lockdown to contain Covid-19 but implementation holds the key.
Spitting on roads in Shimla was banned after the Himachal Pradesh high court’s order in 2007 that led to the civic authorities putting up signboards on the Mall, fining those spitting and smoking in public between Rs 50 and Rs 500.
Initially, many were fined but gradually the change set in and the number of roadside vendors selling cigarettes and betel nut (paan) came down from over a dozen to three on the Mall.
“In the initial years, a lot of people were challaned but the number of violators has come down significantly,” says municipal health officer Dr Surekha Chopra. “Though we don’t have a record for this, the Himachal Pradesh government is implementing World Health Organisation guidelines, banning people from spitting in public places to curb transmission Covid-19,” she said.