People take a stride sans mask at Marine Drive (File pic)
People take a stride sans mask at Marine Drive (File pic)

Mumbai: Following 'Mission Unlock 4.0', the morning and evening walkers are back at the Marine Drive promenade. However, regulars and local residents are tired of people from outside crowding the iconic promenade, especially on weekends. Worse still, a large number of visitors are throwing caution to the wind amid the pandemic fear. Many loiter without masks or don’t maintain social distancing. Ashok Gupta, vice-president of Marine Drive Citizen's Association (MDCA) said, “Residents of Marine Drive are aware of the present situation. People don't step out unless it’s absolutely necessary. Those who are crowding the promenade are either tourists or come from other parts of the city. Most of them are without masks," Gupta said. He also mentioned that the situation is worse during weekends.

"There are Covid cases in almost every building at Marine Drive. Every household has at least one senior citizen or child. Hence, no one would dare to step out now,” said Gaurav Kamble, a local resident.

The Marine Drive, Nariman Point and Cuffe Parade area comes under BMC’s A-ward. The ward had a low case count of 20-25 cases daily when the pandemic was at its peak. However, in the past one week, A-ward reported more than 45 cases per day on average.

“Locals are scared because of the crowding at the promenade. The cases have started rising after restrictions were relaxed in September," said local BJP corporator, Harshita Narwekar.

Last weekend (September 26 and 27), BMC marshals fined 71 people in the area for not wearing masks. The entire seaface from Marine Drive to Girgaon falls under BMC’s A and C ward. “Violators often argue with us and behave badly. We are accompanied with police constables or else things can get really ugly," said Jaideep More, an official from BMC Solid Waste Management.

More confirmed that most of the violators come to the promenade from the suburbs and not a single violator is a local resident. “South Mumbai is a commercial zone. The offices in this area are closed during weekends. Most of the violators that we have fined were from the suburbs who had come to spend their leisure time at the promenade," said a BMC marshal.

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