MUMBAI: Mumbai civic body – the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) – has launched a massive month-long campaign to punish people not wearing masks in order to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic further.
The civic body has warned that those found violating the Centre’s COVID-19 safety protocols will be booked and penalised. The civic body has set itself a target of booking 20,000 offenders daily and has deputed 960 staff for the same.
The move comes in the backdrop of rising COVID-19 cases in the city. BMC chief Iqbal Singh Chahal said, “A large number of citizens do not wear face masks which could lead to situation getting difficult in future thereby delaying opening up of the city.”
“The BMC is initiating a mass drive of penalising approximately 20,000 citizens per day found without masks in public spaces…this drive will continue for a month at least, and it will be monitored personally by me every evening,” the BMC chief said.
The civic body had made wearing face masks compulsory in the first week of April and also announced a fine of Rs 200 on violators. Between April and October 1, 2020, only 18,118 citizens were booked for not wearing a face mask and the BMC collected around Rs 60 lakh as fine.
Last month, the BMC booked 852 citizens for spitting in public place and collected a fine of Rs 1.46 lakh.
According to BMC officials, till now officials from the Solid Waste Management (SWM) department were given the task to penalise those not wearing masks as an additional assignment, apart from their regular eight-hour duty, but now, all 24 administrative wards in the city have appointed agencies for the same.
On Monday, the financial capital reported 1,620 new COVID-19 cases, taking its tally to 2,31,070, while the toll rose to 9,466 with 36 fresh deaths.
The civic body said the number of recoveries increased to 1,95,773 with 1,968 more COVID-19 patients getting discharged from hospitals in the past 24 hours.
At present, Mumbai’s recovery rate of COVID-19 patients is 84 per cent, it said, adding the city has 22,693 active cases.
The civic body has done 12.71 lakh COVID-19 tests so far. According to the BMC, Mumbai has an average case doubling rate of 67 days, while the average growth rate is 1 per cent.
A BMC official said the city has 9,872 sealed buildings and 652 containment zones in slums and chawls (old style tenements).
The civic body seals a building or declares a containment zone on finding one or more COVID-19 patients there.