Mira Bhayandar: Taking a serious stance on the incident involving the caretaker of a public restroom who was caught selling prohibited tobacco-laced gutka products in Bhayandar, local legislator Geeta Jain has called for a thorough investigation and the termination of the contract awarded to the private agency hired by the Mira Bhayandar Municipal Corporation (MBMC) for the maintenance of the public facility.
Raid conducted on Aug 15 after tip off
The crime branch unit (Zone I), which is part of the Mira Bhayandar-Vasai Virar (MBVV) region, conducted a raid on Independence Day at a community toilet situated in the Azad Nagar area of Bhayandar (east). Acting on a tip-off, a police officer entered the toilet premises under the pretext of using the facilities. Upon confirming that the caretaker was openly selling gutka to individuals, the officer signaled the rest of the team. They swiftly apprehended the caretaker, identified as Mohammed Nawab Shamshuddin Qureshi (42). A thorough search of the premises, including the accommodation area, led to the discovery of multiple gunny bags containing numerous sachets of pan-masala and scented tobacco products from various brands. The estimated value of the seized items is Rs. 78,000.
"Transforming a community toilet into an outlet for selling tobacco-laced gutka products is a grave violation of the contract's terms by the contractor. When banned substances are readily available on municipal-owned properties, the message we convey is concerning. The police raid and the FIR clearly establish the illegal nature of the act. I have communicated with the municipal commissioner, urging the termination of the contract and the blacklisting of the agency in question," said Jain.
The twin-city possesses 201 community toilet complexes, comprising over 3,500 toilet seats. Alongside offering free water, the MBMC allocates substantial funds each month to the agency responsible for maintaining cleanliness and hygiene at these public facilities. However, a number of public restrooms present a dismal picture of negligence and unhygienic surroundings, particularly due to the issue of gutka spitting, which remains a significant nuisance.
Meanwhile, an offense has been registered against the caretaker under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Food Safety and Standards (Prohibition and Restriction on Sales) Act, 2011, at the Navghar police station in Bhayandar (east).