Nagpur: With surge in COVID-19 cases in city, Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) is having its hands full, as apart from arranging health apparatus, they also have to ensure COVID-19 Appropriate Behaviour (CAB) for which it is also penalising citizens. So far, the civic body has collected more than Rs two crore by way of fines from citizens for not wearing masks, a basic must to prevent transmission.
The task of ensuring CAB is entrusted to Nuisance Detection Squad (NDS) and it fan out in major thoroughfares and busy streets and catch those moving sans masks. Till date, NMC has netted Rs 2,00,84,000 by way of fines from citizens not wearing the masks.
The fines were started a bit late and were not so much insisted during the initial first wave. But when appeal failed to work, civic officials made it compulsory and to ensure compliance started a penalty. Earlier, a very small sum was being collected but when people started deliberately avoiding wearing the protective masks, the fine component was increased to Rs 500. The initial fine is Rs 200 and for repeat offense Rs 500 is charged from the offender.
During the height of the second wave, NDS members would stand at busy thoroughfares and intercept motorists riding or driving without masks. As per the NMC, about 11064 persons coughed up Rs. 200 was fine and that amounted to Rs. 22,12,800 while majority of 37980 persons were fined Rs. 1,89,90,000.
Now with the emergence of Omicron, the NDS has become more active and penalising citizens who are found without masks in public places. Despite such hefty fines of Rs 500, many of the people continue to defy the rule and loaf around busy streets minus the protective mask.