Intensifying its campaign against those not wearing face masks while venturing outdoors, the BMC on Tuesday announced that people without masks will not be allowed to board BEST buses, taxis and even auto rickshaws. With that, the civic body has flagged off its new campaign, " No Mask..No Entry," against potential offenders.
Civic officials have been instructed across wards in malls, offices, residential societies and other establishments to paste ''no mask, no entry'' stickers to increase awareness among people. The decision to start this campaign was taken at the initiative of Municipal Commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal.
As per the decision, ward offices will convey the directive on masks to taxi and autorickshaw unions as well as management of establishments. Offenders will have to cough up a penalty of Rs 200.
The BMC had penalized 14,207 persons across the city for not wearing face masks while stepping out, between April 20 and September 26, and collected Rs 52.76 lakh penalty. Over 36 per cent of the total fine — Rs 19,07,700 — was collected in just 13 days.
"Despite fines, people are not taking the issue seriously. While many just don't wear a mask, several others wear it the wrong way. We are creating mass awareness at ward level. The new campaign will discourage people from venturing out in public without a face covering. It is high time people make masks part of their daily essential," said Chahal.
The violation, which attracted Rs 1000 fine until September 12, was brought down to Rs 200 on September 13. BMC has offered its staff 10 percent of the total fine they collect each day by way of incentive.
Between April 20 and September 12, when the fine was Rs 1000, the civic body had penalised 4989 people from across the city and collected Rs. 33,68,500. However, between September 13 and September 26, when the fine was slashed to Rs 200, the civic body penalised 9,218 people and collected Rs.19,07,700.
BEST general manager Surendrakumar Bagde said the decision would be strictly implemented on civic-run metropolitan bus routes.