The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has started levying fines on residents littering nullahs. Over the past two weeks, the civic body has collected at least Rs 2.94 lakh in fines.
Municipal Commissioner Pravin Pardeshi has set up 24 patrolling teams in the city’s 24 wards. The Mumbai Police is part of the drive and taking action under the Bombay Police Act 1951.
“The Rs 200 fine is being collected from individuals found throwing garbage into nullahs. The teams have been set up as the garbage thrown in the nullahs obstructs the flow of water and that leads to waterlogging in nearby areas,” said a civic official.
What about illegal slums near nullahs?
The BMC’s drive to fine residents for throwing garbage into nullahs appears to be an attempt to put the onus on residents for flooding during the monsoon. The BMC has implemented the drive just a few weeks before the onset of monsoon, without creating any awareness among residents beforehand. Though it is the responsibility of residents to not throw garbage into nullahs, action also needs to be taken against the illegal slums near the nullahs. After all, the BMC’s role is to provide services to residents and not generate revenue from such initiatives.
Data provided by the BMC shows it the single largest fine, totalling Rs 93,000, was collected from the M-East ward, which comprises Mankhurd, Govandi and Shivaji Nagar.
It is followed by the G-South ward, including Worli, Lower Parel, Worli Koliwada, NM Joshi Road and Senapati Bapat Road, from where Rs 32,400 were collected in fines.
However, residents have termed the initiative “token action”, which would do little to address the flooding woes in different parts of the city. “Most of the nullahs have many illegal slums nearby, which discharge their garbage and sewage into the nullahs. These illegal slums need to be removed by the civic body. Not much else will address the flooding issue,” said Nikhil Desai, an activist from the King’s Circle area.
“We are also installing grills at certain spots along the nullahs to identify where garbage is being discharged from. If we find garbage in the nullah after cleaning it, we will do more patrols in that area. We will be able take action against those littering the nullahs,” said another official.
The official added that boards will be displayed at certain locations to seek peoples’ cooperation.