BENGALURU: With Bengaluru reporting the second highest number of active Covid-19 cases (1,610) among metropolitan cities, after Delhi (3,975), the State government made wearing of masks mandatory, but without imposing penalty. A day after this, at least 95 per cent of the people in public places do not wear masks, or wear them on their chins. Most of them carried masks in their pockets or purses.
Most shopkeepers and drivers did not wear masks on Tuesday. When asked, autodriver Saifulla smiled, and said that “police are not yet booking cases”. Those travelling by bus and train had also dumped their masks. Lakshmi, who travelled by train from Mysuru to Bengaluru, said she had her mask in her bag, and swiftly pulled it out and wore it. Kusuma, too, had her mask in her purse.
“It is suffocating to wear masks, especially in summer. I heard the mask is made mandatory but there is not much awareness on this,” she said. In the two pandemic years— from March 2020 to March 6, 2022— BBMP marshals had booked a total of 6,83,820 cases and collected Rs 16,52,64,799 from people not wearing masks and maintaining social distance in Bengaluru alone.
While 6,49,888 cases were booked and Rs 15,74,85,380 collected for not wearing masks, 33,883 cases were booked and Rs 77,67,935 collected for failing to keep social distance. BBMP Special Commissioner, Health, Dr K V Thrilok Chandra said they will first create awareness and try to persuade people to wear masks, and the next step will be to collect penalty.