Mumbai: As part of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC)’s ongoing crackdown on those found without a mask on in public places, its clean-up marshals deployed in the A ward (Cuffe Parade, Marine Lines, Churchgate, Colaba) and C ward (Kalbadevi, Mumbadevi, Bhuleshwar) have overachieved by surpassing targets set for them on the number of such offenders to be fined per day. BMC officials attributed this to the large crowds that head to the Marine Drive promenade each day, BMC officials said.
These two wards fall under Zone 1 of the civic body and marshals in each BMC ward are being set daily targets on the number of violators to be fined. The targets set for the marshals depend on the area, population and floating population size in each ward.
As per the latest report compiled by the BMC on December 21, clean-up marshals of A and C ward were given a target of fining 400 persons each day. The marshals of A ward have achieved 110 per cent of their target, by fining 441 violators and marshals deployed in C ward have achieved 113 per cent of their daily target, by fining 452 violators on average.
Civic officials said most of the violators in these two wards are people who throng the Marine Drive promenade without covering their face with a mask.
"During afternoons and evenings, many people could be seen at the Marine Drive promenade without their masks. It’s unfortunate that nine months since the pandemic hit the city, people still continue to move around without covering their face," said a senior official of the BMC Solid Waste Management (SWM) department. The SWM department has been assigned the task of collecting these fines in Mumbai.
The marshals said they come across repeat offenders regularly, who often behave in a hostile manner with them.
"At Marine Drive, we don't fine people straight away. We give them a warning and keep a watch from a different spot, and if we see them still not wearing masks, then we impose a fine on them," said a marshal.
"It sends a wrong signal to the children around if you don't cover your face with a mask while you are out at a public place like Marine Drive or Chowpatty," another marshal told The Free Press Journal.
Of the six municipal zones, marshals deployed in Zone 1 - which covers the B ward (Dongri, Masjid), D ward (Malabar Hills, Breach Candy, Gareth Road) and E ward (Byculla, Nagpada, Mazgaon) along with A and C wards - has achieved the highest average percentage of its target by scoring 79.67 per cent.
Zone 3 which covers the areas Bandra, BKC, Khar, Santacruz East and Andheri East has recorded the lowest average target with a score of 49.25 per cent.
At present, there are 1,200 marshals being deployed across the city, with 50 marshals being deployed in each of the 24 municipal wards.