Next time if you are caught without a face mask in public in Mumbai, get ready to sweep roads as part of community service if you fail to pay fine to the city civic body.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation is making violators do community service in the form of sweeping roads if they are reluctant to pay Rs 200 as fine for not wearing masks in public places, according to civic officials.
In view of the coronavirus pandemic, authorities have made wearing of face masks mandatory in public to curb the spread of the infection.
The K-West civic ward, which includes areas like Andheri West, Juhu and Versova, has already made several violators sweep roads for an hour to deter people from roaming around without a mask.
Vishwas Mote, assistant municipal commissioner (K-West ward), said on Thursday that since the past seven days they have made people do community service in the form of sweeping roads if they unnecessarily argue with officials or refuse to pay fine for not wearing a mask.
"Until today, a total of 35 people were made to do community service in the K-West ward," Mote said.
According to the officials, this punishment is being handed out as per the BMC's Solid Waste Management bye-laws that give the civic body powers to ask citizens to do various community services for spitting on roads.
A civic official said initially most people show reluctance to do community service like sweeping roads, but they fall in line when they are warned about police action.
"On realising that they made a mistake by not wearing face mask, some people readily agree to do community service," the official said.
Aiming to control the pandemic, the civic body is continuously spreading awareness among citizens about wearing face masks, maintaining social distance and practising hand hygiene.
Last the BMC had directed authorities concerned to disallow entry of people without masks in public buses, taxis, auto-rickshaws and even inside housing societies.