India seeks divine intervention to deter serial spitters

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Indian officials are turning to Hindu gods and goddesses to deter people from spitting

India has sought divine intervention to rid its government buildings of the scourge of spitting -- wall tiles imprinted with the images of gods.

Officials in Uttar Pradesh state have installed tiles with images of Hindu gods and goddesses in "vulnerable" corners of government buildings where reddish brown sprays from chewing tobacco mixtures are a common sight.

Few public spaces are spared from spitting in India. Those chewing the hugely popular handmade paan mixtures of tobacco and areca nut are serial offenders, leaving a pungent stain on any surface coated with the residue.

In Shahjahanpur district, roughly 225 kilometres from the capital Lucknow, officials fed up with the mess have turned to the gods for inspiration.

"We got CCTV cameras installed, and also deployed staff to check spitting, but it was of no use," district official TK Shibu told The Press Trust of India.

"So as an experiment, we are trialling these tiles of gods and goddesses."

The move comes shortly after the state's new leader Yogi Adityanath, a firebrand Hindu priest, announced a ban on chewing tobacco in government premises after encountering a spit-stained office in Lucknow last week.

Similar efforts have been rolled out, with mixed success, to deter public urination in India, with the images of gods often seen on walls and corners across its cities.