- Spitting on streets could cost people dear as the state cabinet on Tuesday approved an innovative anti-spitting law that combines monetary punishment with mandatory community service.
- The first time a citizen is caught spitting, he or she will have to shell out Rs 1,000 as fine and take a day out to do social work at a public hospital or a government office.
- Second-time offenders will have to pay Rs 3,000 plus three-day community service, and repeat offenders Rs 5,000 plus five-day service, respectively.
- The amount collected in fines will be used only for healthcare services.
- Dr Sawant, who has been working on the draft for months, said the law will be in place within the next six months. The anti-spitting bill will now have to cleared in both the state legislature houses.
- The offender should do community service in a government hospital or office, like take on sweeping for a day or more. Designated officers will be appointed in every establishment.
- The law is likely to act as a precursor to banning chewing tobacco in public.
- People who chew tobacco cannot avoid spitting because tobacco stimulates the salivary glands to produce more saliva.
- The harms of passive smoking led to the ban on smoking in public places. Now, the recognition about how spitting can spread infectious diseases will lead to a ban on chewing tobacco at public places.
- Dr A Bamne, executive health officer of BMC, said an anti-spitting law would bring down transmission of all airborne diseases.
- It will also affect the tobacco-chewing habit as people will be restrained from spitting out tobacco. This is a move towards a healthy lifestyle.
- A four-minister committee has been set up to work out the bill’s modalities.
- The committee will give a report to the government at the end of monsoon session. It will frame rules to be followed.
- BMC had a bye-law on anti-spitting or littering in public places, but failed.
- Dr Sawant, though, assured that there would be no political intervention with the anti-spitting law.
- The committee will suggest who will be the implementing authority at various places and how to collect the fines. For instance, in Mumbai city, BMC commissioner will be the in-charge, but traffic police or police could be authorized to collect fine on the roads.
- The government plans to develop a software to track offenders and use the CCTV network to look for offenders.
Source :The Times Of India