Mumbai: BMC collects Rs 3.53 lakh fine for not wearing masks in public places

Mumbai: The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has collected Rs 3.53 lakh in fine from people on September 19 and 20 for not wearing masks in public places.

Following Unlock 4.0, BMC had revised the penalty amount to Rs 200 from Rs 1,000, considering now more people have started to come out. The curtailment of fine rates also meant that the civic body would be penalising people more aggressively. The revised rates were implemented from September 13 and a total amount of Rs 8.42 lakh has been collected as fine in the first week.

BMC has fined around 500-600 people on weekdays, while between 850-900 violators were fined during the weekends.

"People know that we are in the middle of a pandemic, yet they lack the discipline of wearing masks. The civic body has also slashed the fine amount. Now, the least people can do for the sake of themselves and others is to wear the mask," Deputy Municipal Commissioner Harshad Kale told FPJ.

Civic officials said that most of the violators are either teenagers or in between the age groups of 21-35.

"More than half of the violators are from the younger side. They have a feeling that the pandemic is over and everything is back to normalcy, many of them were carrying their masks but were adamant not to wear them," said a civic official of the BMC.

Officials also mentioned that people are reluctant to pay the fine amount which is why they need to accompany police constables with them.

The areas of Malad, Borivli, Cuffe Parade, Marine Drive and Bhindi Bazar are some of the areas from where most of the violators have been fined. In Malad, nearly 157 violators were fined during the weekend wherein at Marine Drive and Cuffe Parade area, 133 people were fined.

Deepesh Sharma, a local Marine Drive resident stated, the Marine Drive promenade is being thronged by morning and evening walkers daily, many of them were also seen without masks.

"People living in proximity to Marine Drive are afraid to go out now. People come from different places and take walk on the promenade," stated Sharma.

Areas like Bandra (west) and Andheri (west) which once used to have the highest number of violators, now has improved its statistics. Both these areas have only 10-15 violation cases daily.

"People have become more aware and the number of violators is becoming less, also most of the violators whom we have recently fined are outsiders, who have come to this places for their work," said Sachin Mudganti, solid waste management official (H West) who is the incharge of fine collection.

The BMC had started penalising violators from April for not wearing masks. From April, total 4974 violators were fined and Rs 3.36 crore fine amount was collected till September 12, following which revised penalty rates were implemented.

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