Penalty of Rs 500 for urination in the open , 'Swachh Bharat' campaign gains momentum

By Our Correspondent

Agartala July 10 ,2019 : Late nobel-laureate V.S.Naipaul had penned in the first of his India trilogy titled 'An area of darkness' in the early sixties of the last century that 'Indians defecate everywhere'. That was in the year 1964 but long before that Mahatma Gandhi had noticed much to his horror the total lack of cleanliness in a session of Congress at Calcutta in 1902. The Tamil delegation members had the habit of consuming food beyond the visual range of others as any prying eye would pollute them physically as well as spiritually. There were others who used to unburden themselves at night near the veranda of the space they had been accommodated in and the resultant stink and stench would make anyone run away in revulsion. Gandhiji who had opted upon himself the responsibility for cleaning the make-shift urinal points and lavatories was appalled and said "if the Congress session were to the prolonged a outbreak of epidemic would be inevitable'. The 'Mahatma' however had pleasant experience in a Dalit slum in Gujrat as a voluntary sanitary inspector when he saw that the Dalit families were much more conscious of cleanliness though they had much less facilities like pucca urinals and lavatories. 

More than a century has passed since these bizarre things happened but there has been little change in this regard despite big strides made by India in science , technology and education. Narendra Modi's 'Swachh Bharat Abhiyan' is also aimed at inculcating the habit of cleanliness among his compatriots. Whatever the results achieved since the year 2014, Modi's enthusiasm seems to have at long last percolated to our Tripura as evident from an initiative launched by the left-controlled Agartala Municipal Corporation (AMC).

Recently a large number of hoardings and wall-writings have sprouted all over the state capital warning the citizenry that 'urination in the open space will entail a penalty of Rs 500.00'. Undeterred by the ominous tone and tenor of the wall-writings many people continue to find suitable corners to dewater themselves at need but the looming threat remains . Apart from the people who can afford to pay despite the shame and embarrassment that the sly misadventure will cause, there are the rumps who will find the payment absolutely unaffordable. This is not to say that no deterrent should be there to stop this pernicious habit but the enforcing agency should be compassionate to people , depending on their status and the amount of fine may be reduced suitably to ensure ready compliance.  


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