The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagar Palike (BBMP) Marshals have been instructed to book at least 20 cases in a day against those not wearing masks in public according to a new notice issued.
In an order signed by Munish Moudgil, Secretary of Department of Personnel and Administrative Reforms and Zonal Coordinator, BBMP Marshals will have to meet the target of booking 20 offenders in each assembly constituency in the south zone. Those found flouting norms and not wearing masks will be fined Rs 250.
The notice states that failure to achieve the target will lead to action against them under the Disaster Management Act 2005 for "deliberate failure to control Covid-19."
The move drew flak with experts stating that it might lead to incidents of harassment by cops in a bid to meet their targets. Congress Jaynagar MLA Soumya Reddy in a tweet asked whether setting a target was necessary to save lives.
Responding to the criticism, BBMP commissioner Manjunath Prasad said that the move was much needed to curb the rising cases. "We don't want to fill our treasury by taking such fines, but it is imperative as studies have shown that wearing masks help against the spread of covid-19".
He added that the rules would apply to all including officials if found violating guidelines.
Meanwhile, the civic bodies technical advisory committee has set new guidelines regarding wearing of mask in public places. According to the new rules, those driving alone in a four-wheeler with the window glasses closed would still need to wear a mask.
Single rider in a two-wheeler without a pillion rider will have to follow the same rules. Mask would need to be worn by all at public spaces, except for those using a swimming pool.
The BBMP has also made an exception for young children below 5 years of age from wearing masks. It states that this motivated by the 'do not harm' approach. However, all children above 5 years shall wear a mask.