The Straits Times
Published on Oct 08, 2012

Mumbai's grandma spit inspector on patrol faces uphill battle


MUMBAI (AFP) - At a bus stop in south Mumbai, a man hawks loudly before expelling a mouthful of brown saliva into the road without a second thought - but unfortunately for him, the spit inspector is watching.

Ms Rajeshree Rajaram Kamble, a 53-year-old grandmother dressed in a flowery tunic with matching blue shawl and trousers, strides towards her prey and firmly requests a fine of 200 rupees ($4.70). The man appears surprised by her finger-waggling admonishment, and says he does not have any money on him.

"You can wash it away," Ms Kamble retorts, marching him to a nearby sugarcane juice stall to get some water. "If you don't wash it, then you can take off your clothes and clean it." The man is still reluctant and their row gets increasingly heated.

For Ms Kamble, such altercations are just part of the job. Working for the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM), she is one of 25 "nuisance detectors" taking on grown men and women every day over offences such as public littering, urinating and bathing on the street.