BBMP for increasing fine for not wearing masks to โ‚น1,000

If the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) gets its way, citizens will find themselves forking out โ‚น1,000 as way of fines for not wearing masks and failing to cover their mouth and nose in public. At present, citizens have to pay โ‚น200, but the civic body has proposed that the State government increase the amount.

BBMP Commissioner N. Manjunath Prasad, while holding a videoconference on Saturday said the question of fines was raised at a recent meeting with the Chief Secretary.

โ€œThe decision has to be taken at the government level,โ€ Mr. Prasad said, while reiterating that wearing masks and keeping a distance from others in public spaces was the most effective way of reducing the risk of exposure to COVID-19.

In the first week of May, when masks were made mandatory in the city, a notification was issued by the then civic chief saying that people not wearing masks would be fined โ‚น1,000 for the first violation and โ‚น2,000 for subsequent violations.

However, the notification was revised after a few days and the fine amount was brought down to โ‚น200 from โ‚น1,000.

Public outrage was one of the reasons for the revision. Many people told The Hindu after the meeting that such a huge fine would be counterproductive, and would encourage corruption. Some civic officials also held a similar view. โ€œMost people donโ€™t carry โ‚น1,000 on them,โ€ said a resident.

N.S. Mukunda, founder-chairman of the Citizen Action Forum, agreed that there was a need to fine people more heavily. He argued against a five-fold increase of the existing penalty. โ€œA โ‚น300 to โ‚น400 fine, backed up with a continuous and sustained awareness campaign will yield results,โ€ he said.


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