PM’s campaign revives clean-up drive in SoBo

Written By Unknown on Selasa, 07 Oktober 2014 | 22.23

MUMBAI: Prime minister Narendra Modi's Swachh Bharat Abhiyan has come like a godsend to a group of activists fighting against litterbugs in Mumbai. They feel their pleas for proper waste disposal cannot be scorned anymore.

Six women from south Mumbai have been fighting the menace of garbage in chawls whose residents do not keep dustbins at home. They chuck the waste from the window into the gullies below. Rubbish piles up for weeks, often reaching the first floor of buildings there.

Municipal officials across A, B, C and D wards are at their wits' end as they try to convince residents to deposit garbage in a hygienic manner. A ward corporator Ganesh Sanap has put up bins across the locality in the hope people will use them.

On October 4, the Fort Area Citizens' Forum, Clean Mumbai Foundation, Bombay First and assistant municipal commissioner of A ward Devidas Kshirsagar together took an oath to clean Mumbai. They led a public rally where they were joined by 90 students of Kandivli's Thakur College and members of the Rotaract Club. The teams went to every door in Bora Bazar, Bazargate and Homi Mody Street to plead that residents and shopkeepers instal dustbins or at least pool the garbage in a common location.

Kunti Oza, chairperson of Clean Mumbai Foundation, says, "We are trying to source which law mandates punishment for such offences. Each home throws garbage out of the window. It lands on awnings and chokes the lids of gutter chambers and pipes. The stench is unbearable, mosquitoes and rodents proliferate and disease is rampant."

The BMC is not obliged to collect refuse from private premises, yet it does so once the waste is dry.

Activists Theresa Pinto, Menaka Dalal, Saroj Kapadia, Veena Shetty and Jaswanti Maru have been championing the cause for over two decades. Pinto, who founded the citizens' forum, says, "I have even climbed the top of a truck to draw attention to the problem. Residents say they pay rent to the landlord so he must clean the area. The landlord does not live there, so he is unaffected. Shopkeepers dump refuse in piles on the road and the waste is dispersed all over the lanes. Kshirsagar and Sanap have tried to help, but like the PM says, the effort must come from citizens themselves."

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