Mumbai: The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has fined three of its own staff for being caught without masks while on duty and interacting with the public, to drive home the message that none will be spared for flouting the rule on being masked in public at all times. The BMC's G (north) ward (Dharavi, Dadar, Mahim) imposed a fine of Rs 200 each on three persons working in at the Citizen Facilitation Centre (CFC) without wearing masks while on duty, interacting with people.
The action came within a few hours after a Twitter handle, Mumbai Matters (@mumbaimatterz ) posted pics of the three employees being found "with their masks down/ no mask while on duty. " "Masks are considered an effective way to curb the spread of coronavirus infection. However, three employees in the birth and death certificate section were found maskless. As soon as it came to our notice, we reached out and immediately directed the staffers to wear masks properly, as they have to continuously interact with citizens. Also, we fined the trio, Rs 200 each just as we penalise others caught without a mask. We will not spare anyone violating Covid norms/ safety protocols, even if it is a BMC or government employee," said Kiran Dighavkar, Assistant Municipal Commissioner of G (North) ward.
Replying to the Twitter handle Mumbai Matters (@mumbaimatterz ), BMC's G (North) ward posted receipts of the fine collected from the three employees identified as Jai Khupte, Vaibhav Kinekar and Girish Sosaa. Twitterati promptly appreciated the action taken by the BMC ward office against the offenders.
BMC chief Iqbal Singh Chahal has issued directives that any person seen in a public place without a mask should be fined Rs 200 and also be handed a mask. Last month, Chahal had asked officials to “aggressively” book those not wearing masks and also set a daily target to book 20,000 offenders. Not just this but the civic body has started making violators perform community service -- sweeping roads for an hour or cleaning graffiti off the city walls -- if they argue or refuse to pay the Rs 200 fine for not wearing masks in public.
The BMC revealed that it had collected over Rs. 3.49 crore in 212 days, from April 9 to October 30, from those caught without masks in public places. The violation attracts a penalty of Rs 200 or police action if the offenders refuse to pay the fine.
On finding that many continue to walk around without masks, the civic body in November decided that not only would it fine those who were not wearing masks but it would also hand out free masks to the violators.