Mumbai: BMC swoops down on Bandra-Khar eateries, hefty fines imposed

In a major crackdown on Saturday night, the BMC penalised several popular restaurant chains and pubs for flouting COVID-19 protocols in Mumbai.

Among the errant eateries is '145 Bandra Restaurant and Bar.' It has been asked to cough up Rs 50,000 fine for allowing more than 200 people on the premises. Besides, the civic body has lodged an FIR against the establishment for disobeying an order duly promulgated by public servant (IPC section 188) and engaging in a negligent act that is likely to spread infection of disease danger­ous to life (Section 269).

While no arrests were made, the party attendees, who were violating the prohibitory COVID norms, were released with a warning," said a police officer.

The BMC also penalised other popular restaurants and pubs in the stretch between Khar and Bandra -- Irish House, U Turn Sports Bar and Quarter Pillar Bar. Civic officials stated each of these establishments has been asked to fork out an amount between Rs 20,000 and Rs 30,000 for flouting the norms.

Civic officials stated that with the number of COVID-19 cases mounting yet again, similar raids will be carried out frequently to keep a check on violators.

"Many people party in areas like Bandra and Khar during weekend and the BMC will be taking stringent action against the violators, so that utmost discipline is maintained," Parag Masurkar, Deputy Municipal Commissioner told FPJ.

"The punitive action is not intended to fill the BMC coffers but to spread awareness among people. We are sure next weekend crowd control measures will be followed by this restaurant and pub owners," Masurkar added.

The raids were conducted jointly by BMC officials along with the Mumbai Police and Mumbai Fire Brigade. Officials maintained they had received other tip-offs as well on flouting of protocols.

"During the raid, we found more than 100 patrons were inside the restaurant, distancing protocols were not at all being followed and many of the staffers were also seen with their faces uncovered," said a civic official present during the raid.

"The staffers and patrons who were not wearing masks were asked to cough up Rs 200 each on the spot," the official added.

Incidentally, on February 20 (Saturday), the BMC had mopped up around Rs 32.30 lakhs by fining 16,154 violators for not covering their faces. This has been the highest single day recovery by the BMC in recent times, accruing from fines on those not wearing face masks.

The most fines were collected in K West ward which covers Andheri West, Juhu and Ville Parle areas. No less than 2,345 violators were fined in this ward which helped the civic body rake in Rs 4.69 lakhs in fines. This was followed by the H west ward (Bandra, Khar and Santacruz), where nearly 1,159 violators were fined and Rs 2.31 lakhs were recovered.

"Most of the violators were hanging outside gyms, restaurants and movie theatres," a senior official who was part of the raid told FPJ.

Also, on Sunday afternoon, Mumbai mayor Kishori Pednekar held a review meeting with the BMC marshals and requested them to maintain composure while they were fining violators.

"Our agenda is to not earn money but to spread awareness amongst people that what we are doing is for their own collective good," said the mayor.

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