Right solution for a pan-Indian penchant?
Red stains on every corner of buildings, especially government ones, are a hallmark of Indian cities.
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Red stains on every corner of buildings — especially government ones — and public spaces are a hallmark of Indian cityscapes. It was no surprise, therefore, to learn that a man in Kanpur well versed in the art of directing paan-induced spit into corners has made a career out of deflecting it on to canvasses instead, and selling those paan-spattered works as abstract masterpieces.
More people turning a necessity into this non-polluting means of livelihood would have been a wonderful solution to the problem of spittle. However, since most paan-spitters stubbornly continue to festoon walls with red-stained sputum, Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) exacting a Rs 100 fine from a man caught in this act on CCTV points to another solution. It may be noted that Brent council in London levied £80 fine on this subcontinental pastime years ago, and Leicester recently put up signs in Gujarati warning paan-spitting could incur a fine of £150.
Much praise has been heaped — and quite rightfully so — on Chandigarh’s decision to fine litterbugs Rs 10,000. The hefty sum will presumably act as a deterrent for fly-tippers and an incentive for those issuing summons. But while Rs 100 sounds a tad too modest a penalty for paan-spittle, the sheer prevalence of transgressors will ensure the AMC’s kitty swells more than a meetha paan with all the add-ons.