The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation had decided to ban walking pets on the four kilometer stret ch on Marine Drive from Land's End to Chowpatty as part of its cleanliness drive, reports Mumbai Mirror.
BMC moved to take action after residents refuse to clean up pet poop. It's ruining our Rs 26 crore beautification efforts, says the civic body.
Journalist Tavleen Singh who some years ago got into demonstrative contretemps with the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation when she refused to clean up after her dog, will no longer be allowed to walk her pet on Marine Drive.
Fed up with Mumbaikers' blatant lack of civic sense and disregard for hygiene, the BMC has decided to ban walking pets on the four kilometre stretch from Land's end to Chowpatty. India's most famous promenade was recently beautified by the MMRDA at a cost of Rs 26 crore.
"The ban proposal has been sanctioned by the municipal commissioner Jairaj Phatak and we will impose it after October 22 as we must wait till the election code of conduct is over," said Sunil Dhamane, assistant municipal commissioner.
Civic officials say their repeated pleas to citizens who walk their pets on Marine Drive to ensure that they did not dirty the newly-beautified promenade have fallen on deaf ears.
"The entire four kilometre stretch is littered with dog poop causing nuisance to joggers, walkers and visitors. What's the use if even after spending all that money the promenade can't remain beautiful?" asked an irate civic official.
In August this year BMC had through advertisements in newspapers appealed to Marine Drive residents asking them to scoop their dog's poop. The civic body even sought public opinion on the subject of banning pets from the promenade but received only one response.
"Just one Marine Drive resident requested us not to implement the ban but since there has been no change in the conduct of the residents-they continue to let their pets dirty the promenade, we have decided to go ahead with the ban," added Dhamane.
Residents and pet owners however are not happy with the civic body's decision. They feel if it wanted to force people to clean up after their pets, the BMC needed to provide proper disposal system at convenient distances.
"Where is the place in the city to walk your pet?" asked Chandrika Javeri, a resident of Chowpatty who had come with her pet to the promenade on Monday evening.
Javeri feels if the BMC wants to enforce the law it should also provide litter bins so that people will not throw wrappers, plastic bags and leftovers on the stretch.
"It is our duty to maintain the beauty and dignity of our city. I collect my dog's poop in the paper and then put it in the plastic bag. I never get embarrassed doing that because I am doing my bit to keep the city clean," said Javeri, showing the polythene bag that she was carrying. Javeri has two Labradors, Auric and Asterix and she walks them on Marine Drive twice a day.
Another pet owner Kalpana Shroff admitted that her two-year old Labrador Jack often urinated on the promenade, but she did not allow him to defecate.
"My dog is quite disciplined with his other habits. I make sure he defecates at home before leaving for a walk. It's unfair to launch a complete ban only because of few careless dog owners," she said.
But Gautam Thadani, a resident of Framroz Court at Marine Drive welcomed the BMC's decision.
"When people do not adhere to rules, authorities are justified in taking such action. I will train my pug, Duke, in some other place, if BMC the were to enforce such a law. When we can spend so much on dogs for their salons and vet fees and treat them as our family members, why should we be ashamed to clean their poop?" Thadani added.
According to the BMC's cleanliness and sanitation bylaws of 2006, a pet owner has to clean up after their pet or face a fine of Rs 500. The law does not allow animal poop to be thrown into public dustbins.
The Clean Up Marshals deployed by the civic body keep vigil on the promenade and fine the pet-owners who violate the regulations. But the four kilometre stretch of Marine Drive is too long a belt to keep a permanent vigil on, said a civic official.