Mumbai: BMC cracks down on 'no mask' offenders, fines nearly 1200 people in 3 days

Updated: 18 September, 2020 08:16 IST | Prajakta Kasale | Mumbai

BMC, which had become lax in punishing the violators of COVID-19 rule mandating masks in public, gets its act together and fines nearly 1,200 people in just 3 days; before mid-day reported about its laxity on September 7, it had acted against only 73

The team of BMC’s G North ward asks people without masks to wear one, and then fines them, in Dadar. Pics/ Ashish Raje
The team of BMC’s G North ward asks people without masks to wear one, and then fines them, in Dadar. Pics/ Ashish Raje

Mumbaikars will now have to think twice before stepping out without a mask covering their nose and mouth, as the BMC has shed its lax attitude in acting against the violators. The civic body has fined nearly 1,200 offenders in just three days, nearly double the number of people penalised in July-August.

Taking the help of police, the BMC has cracked down on people roaming without a mask in the city, especially in South Mumbai and the western suburbs. Over the past three days, the corporation has fined 1,172 violators. Between July and August, it had fined just 733 people.

661 get away with warning

The BMC had announced punishment for spitting and not wearing masks in public in March, but it was lenient in enforcing the rule. After mid-day highlighted the same in a report on September 7, the civic chief instructed all the ward offices to get their act together. A decision was also taken to reduce the fine to R200 from Rs 1,000, announced initially, as many people were getting away with just a warning because they couldn't afford the penalty. An official notification in this regard came on Tuesday night.

A vendor is seen wearing a mask in Dadar. BMC officials say people have started wearing masks after they started creating awareness about the fine for violating the rule
A vendor is seen wearing a mask in Dadar. BMC officials say people have started wearing masks after they started creating awareness about the fine for violating the rule

Now, ward offices have formed their respective teams to create awareness about the importance of wearing masks in public places, and are also taking action against the offenders. The BMC, between Monday and Wednesday, has collected R2.73 lakh in fines and let 661 people go with a warning.

Read: Mumbai: BMC Workers To Get 10 Per Cent of fine collected from 'no mask' offenders

Most people fined in Borivli

Among the wards, R Central ward (Borivli) acted against most number of people, by fining 198 offenders in three days. In South Mumbai, morning and evening walkers without masks on Marin Drive and Colaba were among the 119 people fined. And, 109 people each were fined in D ward (Malabar Hill and Tardeo) and R South Ward (Kandivli).

"On September 7, we faced strong resistance from residents in G North ward (Dadar and Dharavi). But now that they are aware of the fine, most have started wearing masks. We get complaints that many walkers at Shivaji Park don't wear masks. We will take action against them," said an official with the Solid Waste Management (SWM) Department from G North. After getting police security, we will initiate action in Dharavi, too, he added.

There was strong resistance

Even residents of B ward (JJ hospital, Bhendi Bajar and Sandhurst Road) have faced strict action. The civic team has collected fines from 139 people, despite strong resistance.

People put on masks after seeing a BMC team take action against those without one nearby, in Dadar
People put on masks after seeing a BMC team take action against those without one nearby, in Dadar

"People give multiple reasons for not wearing a mask and argue. On Tuesday, we had to go to the police station after one offender hit our supervisor," said SWM assistant engineer with B ward. He added that they have seen a good result in Masjid Bandar, Haat Bazar, Nagdevi, Sandhurst station road and Yusuf Meher Ali road, with more number of people wearing masks, since we started creating awareness.

No case in eastern suburbs

However, no case was reported in M West Ward (Chembur), N ward (Ghatkopar), S ward (Bhandup) and T ward (Mulund). Sudhanshu Dwivedi, the assistant commissioner of M East ward (Govandi and Mankhurd), told mid-day, "We had expected some resistance from locals, but the action was initiated with the help of home guard personnel and police." Only 31 people have been fined so far.

Fine

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First Published: 18 September, 2020 04:44 IST

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