Now, pay a heavy fine for open defecation in Haryana

Now, pay a heavy fine for open defecation in Haryana

Next time someone caught defecating in the open may have to shell out a heavy penalty. After its failed attempt to use drones to identify people who defecate in the open, Haryana has now decided to fine people up to Rs 11,000 if they are caught defecating in the open. Perhaps in a first in a village in Haryana’s Rohtak, one person has already been fined Rs 500 for open defecation "offence".

The practice of open defecation is widespread in many parts of the state despite several awareness programmes and other initiatives to curb the practice. Rightly or otherwise, the authorities found this the best way to stem the practice. The process has already begun with one villager already handed out the fine slip of Rs 500 for open defecation, sources said. He has been warned against repeating the "violation".

The government’s experiment in this regard has been started in 139 panchayat’s in Jat dominated Rohtak district, sources said. Powers have been given to local panchayats to fine any person found defecating in the open up to Rs 11,000. The amount could be as low as Rs 10. Certain provisions in the Act have been evoked to execute the plan. Panchayat’s in some area have put up banners and writings on the walls to broadcast the provisions of fine. Authorities have advised Panchayat representatives to initially go soft on those who violate the rule and later impose fine. The fine may go up for habitual offenders. The experiment is unlikely to go down well with natives in the area who are likely to resist any penalty move.

The government’s earlier plan to use low-flying drones to identify people who defecate in the open was grounded in wake of resistance from villagers, many who felt the would tantamount to “shaming” people who defecate in the open. The plan was formulated on a pilot basis for Yamunanagar district in Haryana. Every other district is in a race to bag the open defecation free status. The problem is rampant in many parts of the state where people use open fields for defecation despite having functional toilets at home.

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