A month after scrapping the clean-up marshals scheme, under which people were being fined for littering and dirtying public places, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has now handed over the responsibilities of the clean-up marshals to `junior overseers’ or civic officials within the Solid Waste Management (SWM) department of the civic body.
“The scheme was discontinued a month back after it received a lot of flak from citizens who claimed that the marshals harassed them. Since the problem of littering in the city is still a huge issue, we decided to hand over the duty to our civic officials who can fine residents in case they are caught dirtying public places,” said Prakash Patil, chief engineer of the SWM department.
“The only difference between the clean-up marshals and the civic officials will be that the latter will not be seen in uniforms, otherwise they have the same powers as that of the marshals,” Patil added.
In 2011, following allegations of corruption and improper conduct by the marshals, the BMC terminated the programme. However, following a Bombay High Court order, the scheme was restarted in June, 2013. Last year, the BMC had also decided to set up a grievance cell in each of its 24 wards to verify the claims of harassment under the scheme.
“We had set-up a grievance cell, but unfortunately citizens didn’t wait for the initiative to develop and progress. Unfortunately, Mumbaikars are seen littering in public places in the city, but the same people will be at their best behaviour when they step out of the country. We have to change the mindsets of the citizens themselves,” said a senior civic official.