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Swachh Bharat and the ‘Right to Spit’
Megha V Choudhary | Saturday, 5 March 2016 AT 07:32 PM IST
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On October 2, 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched an ambitious project called Swachh Bharat Mission. While launching the Clean India campaign, Modi said: “A clean India would be the best tribute India could pay to Mahatma Gandhi on his 150th birth anniversary in 2019.” But are we, the people of India, sensible enough to take the pledge of Clean India and pursue it further?

We are enjoying the basic Constitutional rights such as right to speech, freedom and equality and so on. But we are also using some other rights that were never given to us. One such right is ‘Right to Spit’. Doesn’t that sound strange? But this is true as every day we come across many people who proudly enjoy this right on roads, in government offices, at tourist places, in commercial buildings and the list seems endless. This may be attributed to consumption of betel leaves, tobacco, gutkha and other such things.

Despite the PM launching the ambitious Clean India Movement, people didn’t change and are continuing with the shameful practice of spitting on roads. We are so used to it that we don’t even bother to stop such people from spoiling our beautiful roads, heritage buildings and other such structures.

A few days ago, while on the way to the office, I came across one such fellow. The driver of the stranded tempo spat from his seat without taking the pain to look behind. And poor I became the victim. I did not have any other option but to hurl the choicest abuses at the tempo driver.

Our city is on the verge of becoming a smart city and the criteria given in the Smart City Project include sanitation, health and hygiene. Cleanliness, sanitation and health and hygiene all go hand-in-hand. But how will we achieve total cleanliness and tag of a smart city if we don’t even bother to keep the public assets including our roads, heritage structures, public parks or government buildings clean?

It’s a misbelief that only people from lower class have this habit. Even the elite class often do this. We experienced the same in our one such holiday trip to Pachhmari. While exploring the Jatashankar Caves, we decided to take a dip in a stream at the foot of the temple before proceeding further. Entering into the water was great fun but there was this high-profile man who played spoilsport. At regular intervals, he was spitting in the holy water. Devotees finally asked him to move out of the water.

We can find a number of people including traffic constables, autorickshaw drivers, two-wheeler riders (these are the people I catch spitting most of the times) enjoying their ‘Right to Spit’ without any hesitation. But have we ever thought of measures that will stop them from doing so? It is high time and we can all take a call to curb this bad practice.

Just like ‘Polio Eradication Drive’ that rooted out polio from the country, the government should run ‘Right to Cleanliness’ campaign on the lines of Swachh Bharat to eradicate this bad habit to keep our roads and heritage structures beautiful.

We, the common people, should take charge of keeping the public property clean the way we keep our homes clean then only we can claim them as our property proudly. After all, we are paying some part of our hard-earned money in the form of taxes for the maintenance of these structures!


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