The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has collected Rs 9.53 crore in fines from over 4 lakh people for not wearing masks in public places over the last eight months.
However, of the total amount, Rs 6 crore was collected between November 1 and 26 alone.
Officials said the numbers increased drastically as many citizens were out during Diwali festivities, but didn’t follow the rule of wearing masks in public spaces like markets.
To curb a post-festival Covid-19 surge, the BMC had increased inspection drives in the city, with the violation attracting a penalty of Rs 200.
Fines for not wearing masks began being imposed from April 8. As per data provided by the BMC, the civic body’s squads caught 4,58,738 citizens for not wearing masks in public places and collected Rs 9.53 crore as fine till November 26.
Apart from collecting fines, the BMC also began making violators perform community services, such as sweeping roads, if they argued or refused to pay the fine. However, the punishment has not deterred violators.
One of the staffers from the team said, “People are still careless about putting on masks. Many wear it only when they spot police or one of us in their vicinity. Many wear it over the chin without covering their nose and mouth. Several others argue they had removed the mask only for a few minutes and they should not be asked to pay the fine.”
On October 12, the BMC launched a drive to penalise 20,000 citizens daily for not wearing masks. However, that target has not been met yet. On average, each ward has 79 cases daily.
Between April 8 and November 26, the highest defaulters were found K westward, which covers Andheri west, Juhu at 29,679. It was followed by Sward (Bhandup) at 26,021 defaulters and L ward that covers Kurla, Sakinaka at 25,497 defaulters.
BMC also collected fines for spitting in public places. Since May, when the Maharashtra government introduced an anti-spitting notification with a hefty fine to prevent people from spitting, the civic body collected Rs 12.21 lakh in fines from 6,258 violators.
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