MORE than a year since ‘clean-up marshals’ were re-introduced in the city to check littering, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is set to renew their contracts for another year and will now introduce performance indicators to assess their effectiveness. Also, while these marshals have until now been deputed at crowded public places, with the growing emphasis on the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and the pressure on the BMC to ensure that Mumbai remains free of open defecation, marshals will now cover the city’s slums as well.
When the clean-up marshals were introduced in July last year, the officials of the Solid Waste Management department deputed them at public places with high footfalls. The decision was a measure of caution as the service had to be scrapped in 2015 after complaints emerged of the marshals misusing their position. “As part of the new contract, we will target slums on a routine basis now and clean-up marshals will look out for open defecation among other offences. While last year, clean-up marshals had collected fines for offences that attracted the highest fine, as part of the new contract, they will have to focus on all kinds of offences, uniformly,” said Vijay Balamwar, deputy municipal commissioner of SWM.
Officials from the department pointed out that while the minimum number of marshals per ward would remain 30, in wards with a higher slum population, agencies would have to provide more staff. “The marshals will focus primarily on open defecation, littering and will ensure that people are segregating their garbage. They are the main workforce for the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and will fine people if they violate norms. Open defecation is a bigger problem in the western and eastern suburbs and ward officials will depute clean-up marshals as per requirement and will monitor them as well,” said another SWM department official.
The official added that while the previous tender was based primarily on a revenue-based model, the new tender would include certain performance indicators and failure to achieve them would attract a fine for the agency appointed for a particular ward. “Presently, clean-up marshals are just fining people for various offences. While the tender conditions will be finalised in a week’s time, we are planning to make it mandatory for some of marshals in every ward to work on creating awareness about segregation of waste or just warning offenders instead of fining them. Their performance will be assessed by ward officials,” said the official.
Since their introduction in July last year till August this year, the clean-up marshals have collected Rs 8.79 crore. Among the 24 administrative wards, while the highest collection was made in A Ward (including areas like Colaba, Nariman Point and Cuffe Parade) where fines worth Rs 82.8 lakh was collected, the highest number of cases were recorded in R Central Ward (including areas like Kandivali) amounting to 1.42 lakh cases.