The complaints of extortion by clean-up marshals in the Panvel Municipal Corporation (PMC) have started surfacing. Pritam Mhatre, the leader of the opposition at the PMC has made allegations that the contractor appointed by the civic administration is extorting money from common citizens and not even giving a correct receipt.
In December, the PMC had appointed an agency for collecting fines from citizens violating cleanliness and Covid rules.
Mhatre has alleged that the clean-up marshals are collecting fines by frightening the citizens and even collected money goes unaccounted. Informing about this, he said that in the last few days, he had received complaints from citizens from Panvel that more than stipulated fines are being collected by clean-up marshals and even they are giving receipts of a lesser amount.
He specified a few locations where such practices are prevalent. “Clean-up marshals near the ST bus depot and railway stations target common people. On Saturday at Panvel ST depot, the clean-up marshals of PMC with valid identity card and receipt machines were collecting excess money from common citizens,” alleged Mhatre.
He added, "Clean-up marshals target ordinary citizens and extort money by frightening them that they had violated the rules. They start from demanding Rs 2000 and settle down around Rs 1000 and give them the receipt of Rs 500.”
Mhatre said that there should be a thorough inquiry on the alleged extortion by clean-up marshals and demanded the immediate removal of Marine Security and Intelligence Pvt Ltd and the imposition of fines and criminal charges.
PMC had appointed an agency to provide clean-up marshals across the city in December last year. The clean-up marshals can collect a fine of Rs 150 for littering on public roads, and Rs 100 for open urination. Similarly, they can collect Rs 500 for open defecation, and Rs 100 for spitting.
If any commercial establishment is found with the banned single-use plastic, the clean-up marshal along with civic officials will collect Rs 5,000 for a first offence, Rs 10,000 for the second offence, and Rs 25,000 for the third offence.
A senior official from the Solid Waste Management of PMC says that they will look into complaints and accordingly take action.
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