07 April 2010
By Umesh Isalkar
Think before you spit, or pay Rs 1,000 as fine
They have to spot those who spit in public places and make them pay a fine so that diseases do not spread.
With spitting a common nuisance in the city, it is no wonder that the civic body has raked in Rs 64,360 from offenders in the past three months as fines.
The job has its share of pitfalls. Only a few offenders paid the Rs 1,000 fine that the civic body imposed for spitting in public places as a step to prevent swine flu from spreading on September 27, 2009. It had been hiked from Rs 25.
“People who spit in public and are caught refuse to pay the full fine. We have to take whatever amount they pay. Sometimes, we ask them to clean the area up or make them sit for a few hours in the ward office as punishment. Extracting the full fine amount from offenders is difficult,” said onal commissioner (II) Dnyaneshwar Molak.
“Sometimes they try to run away or accuse our staff of manhandling them,” Molak added.
The squad however kept at its drive against offenders.
“Although people showed resistance in paying the fine, we went ahead because municipal commissioner Mahesh Zagade’s orders clearly said that the fine has to be a deterrent for spitting,” said zonal commissioner (III) Suresh Jagtap.
Citizens from all strata of society spit in public. It is a bad habit whereby one dirties the place and passes on diseases, he added.
However, the drive received a setback as the one–year tenure of the nuisance detection squad ended on October 2, 2009.
“The drive went slack in October and November 2009. We resumed from December and continued till March 31, 2010. It will be revived soon,” said Jagtap.
As many as 265 offenders were caught for spitting in December 2009. While 322 offenders were registered in January 2010, 284 offenders were registered in February, said Jagtap.
“The drive is to make people aware that spitting is bad and that the civic body will take action against offenders,” said zonal commissioner (I) Vijay Dahibhate.