Kolkata: Over 3,200 people booked for not wearing masks during Durga Puja
Kolkata Police had booked at least 3,270 people for not wearing masks during the five days of Durga Puja amid a sharp spike in coronavirus disease (Covid-19) cases in the city and the rest of West Bengal during the biggest festive occasion in the state.
Bengal on Monday had added 4,121 new Covid-19 cases, which was the second-highest in the country after Kerala.
Kerala had topped the chart with 4,287 cases, and Maharashtra (3.645) was ranked third.
“The state government had made the use of masks mandatory in April. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has been urging the public to wear masks. At least 3,270 people were booked between Sasthi (October 22) and Dashami (October 26) for not wearing masks in public places,” said a Kolkata Police official.
The social media platforms were flooded with pictures of the public not wearing masks during the puja days and while shopping in market places during the festive season.
Kolkata, which was reporting around 500 new Covid-19 cases a day in the first week of September, is recording around 900 fresh viral infections daily.
Kolkata Police had purportedly lowered its guard in early October against those who were not wearing masks in public places.
On an average, 160 people were booked daily between October 5 and October 11. More than 300 people were booked daily between September 5 and September 11. Around 410 violators were booked daily in August.
The vigil against such violators was increased ahead of the Durga pujas, when Kolkata started reporting a spike in Covid-19 cases.
Kolkata Police had booked at least 2,631 people between October 16 and 20. In the preceding six days, another 787 violators were booked.
The state government had given a grant of Rs 50,000 each to around 34,000 Durga puja committees in a bid to rein in the spread of the contagion.
The Calcutta high court (HC) had directed the Durga puja committee to use the money to distribute masks and sanitisers among revellers.
A doctors’ forum had warned the Bengal government that any laxity during the festive season could lead up to a four-fold spike in Covid-19 cases.