Covid-19: In Mumbai, number of people not wearing masks almost doubled in last 2 weeks, says BMC
Despite mandatory for people to wear a mask in public places, the number of violators does not seem to be going down in Mumbai. According to Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC)’s data, between November 6 and November 25, the number of violators booked for not wearing mask has almost doubled.
The data of BMC shows that the civic body’s squads caught 445,000 citizens for not wearing masks in public places and collected Rs9.28 crore as fine till November 25. The number of violators is almost double compared to 226,000 offenders who were caught till November 6 and paid Rs4.79 crore as fine.
The BMC levies a fine of Rs200 from each individual who does not wear a mask in public. According to BMC, currently each of the total 24 wards is levying fine on around 500 citizens daily. Municipal commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal has given each ward a target of booking at least 1,000 citizens daily.
On October 12, the BMC launched a massive drive to penalise 20,000 citizens daily for not wearing a mask, however even that target has not been met yet.
As per the BMC data, the highest fine collection has been done from S and L ward which covers areas like Bhandup, Vikhroli, Powai, Kurla and Saki Naka.
A BMC official involved in the fine collection said, “The numbers increased drastically because for Diwali, many citizens were out, and the marshals were busy during that period. Owing to this, we managed to book so many in the last two weeks.”
The BMC official added, “In the coming days, with more unlocking we expect to increase our surveillance. This may result in our fine collection going up further.”
Apart from collecting fines, the BMC has also started making violators perform community services, such as sweeping roads for an hour or cleaning graffiti, if they argue or refuse to pay the ₹200 fine for not wearing masks.
This punishment is being implemented as per BMC’s solid waste management by-laws, which give it powers to make citizens perform community services for spitting on roads.
Stressing on the importance of wearing a mask, Mumbai Mayor Kishori Pednekar had told HT a couple of days ago, “Unless we do have an actual vaccine to fight with Covid-19, mask and social distancing is the only vaccine available. Hence, if people do not follow safety norms, administration will be compelled for a lockdown.”
Meanwhile, Dr Siddarth Paliwal said, “Those wearing mask have only 10% chances of getting infected with Covid-19, if social distancing is maintained. Hence, mask is the least we could do. Also, it is not just about us but citizens have to understand that it is for the entire community. Due to this, wearing mask becomes more of a responsibility rather than a rule.”
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