Fearing a second wave of Covid-19 cases in Mumbai after Diwali, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) will deploy additional marshals across the city to avoid overcrowding and ensure the wearing of masks. At least 40-50 marshals, accompanied by staff from the ward offices and police, will be deployed in each of the 24 administrative wards starting Tuesday.
Citizens not wearing masks or found spitting will be fined by these marshals. The ward staff and marshals will identify places where the footfall is higher than usual. Those who violate norms will be fined Rs 200.
The marshals are deployed to ensure cleanliness in the city and they can fine people for littering and spitting.
BMC started collecting fines from people not wearing masks since April. The fine was initially Rs 1,000 but was later reduced to Rs 200 following complaints from citizens. So far, BMC has collected Rs 5.18 crore in fines. A civic official said, “These drives are important and we do not want another surge after Diwali. We have strengthened the number of staff deployed on this drive and will ensure that it continues post-Diwali.”
Sanjay Pattiwar, a public health expert, said, “Diwali is one of the biggest festivals in India and will be a crucial time for Covid as well. Authorities should ensure that the downward trend continues till the end of November and if that happens, it will be a good sign.”
Since October 24, the city has seen a downward curve in terms of Covid cases and reported cases as low as 576 daily.