Mumbai civic corporation collected fines worth 52.76 lakh from 14K citizens for not wearing masks at public places

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Published on Sep 27, 2020 11:07 PM IST
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ByRupsa Chakraborty and Eeshanpriya MS

The civic body has fined 14,207 citizens in the city since August for not wearing masks and collected 52.76 lakh as fines for violating the rule until Saturday. Of this, fines worth 19 lakh were collected from 9,218 defaulters between September 13 and 26 alone.

As the lockdown restrictions have been gradually lifted, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has decided to further ramp up the surveillance to ensure citizens mandatorily wear masks while stepping out of their homes.

“We have instructed ward officers to increase their surveillance and soon, we will give them a higher daily target rate to collect fines,” said ,” said Suresh Kakani, additional commissioner, BMC.

The highest amount (6.15 lakh) for the violation was collected from K West ward that covers Andheri (West), followed by R South (Dahisar), where 6.07 lakh was collected from 1,331 defaulters. The third highest amount was collected from C ward (Kalbadevi) where 1,169 citizens were fine 5.60 lakh, followed by R Central ward where 2.63-lakh fines were collected in 1,084 cases.

People need to develop the habit of wearing a mask. Residents in slums are more responsible than those at in non-slum areas. We could control the infection spread in slums because of proper implementation of safety measures,” said Kakani.

“People have been at home for almost seven months. So now with the relaxation in the lockdown, people are coming out of their homes but many aren’t following basic precautionary measures such as wearing masks. Earlier, we were fining only 10-12 people each day, but now it has increased to over 70 fines,” said Bhagyashree Kapse, ward officer, R Central ward (Borivli).

In the last week of June, BMC made it mandatory to wear masks while stepping out of homes. The mask may be either three-ply or plain cloth mask which are available at chemists. Citizens can also wear homemade, washable masks which can be reused after properly washing and disinfecting them.

As per the order, anybody violating the order will be punishable under section 188 of the Indian Penal Code and a fine will be imposed for each such offence by the police officer or the officers appointed by assistant commissioners of the corporation.

In the first week of September, BMC decreased the fine from 1,000 to 200. The solid waste management department has been entrusted with penalising people for not wearing masks. In each ward, a team of 25 inspectors has been formed to ensure rules are followed. The vigilance is likely to increase in the coming days.

“Masks help to trap the droplets that are released while talking, sneezing and coughing. It is an integral part of the mechanism to curb the spread of the infection among others. For people above 50 years with comorbidities, it is the primary safety guard against the virus,” said medical officer Dr Gulnar Khan from K West ward.

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