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Pune cops go soft on mask violations

PUNE Even as people are coming out on city roads and public places in large number without following guidelines, the Pune police have reported fewer actions against those not wearing masks.

As per data provided by Pune police crime branch, the number of mask violators has reduced in the city even as the rush of people has increased on roads due to Diwali in November as compared to September.

The number of people not wearing masks was 65,038 in October as Pune police collected fines of Rs 3,99,91,150 from them while in November till 20, 26,676 were found not wearing a mask for which amount collected was Rs 1,32,54,200. In September, 81,777 were fined with Rs 3,99,91,150 recovered in fines form them.

“The intention of collecting fine from people was to make people aware of the importance of wearing a mask. If you see the statistics, the number of fines has gone down as more people are now wearing a mask,” said Bachchan Singh, deputy commissioner of police, crime branch, Pune.

Pune police and Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) are collecting Rs 500 from the people who are not wearing masks at public places.

“During Diwali, the city roads were crowded and we have taken action accordingly. Now, there is more awareness among masses,” said Singh.

On Friday, Pune city reported 335 new cases taking the total count to 176,708 and 16 deaths taking the death toll to 4,149.

“Pune Police will continue taking action in the same manner in coming days as well,” added Singh.

However, the shopkeepers at Laxmi road, have a different view. “During Diwali time not many police personnel were on the field for checking as compared to normal time. It was peak season time and checking was less,” said the owner of a saree shop.

Same was observed by Omkar Paranjape, a regular at Fergusson College road. “Huge crowd of people and hardly police officials were seen and many street shop hawkers were not wearing a mask during the evening time,” he said.

A shopkeeper on Kumthekar road on condition of anonymity said, “People wear masks and while talking remove it and hang it around their neck. We had to tell them to wear it properly,” he said.

Vijay Kumbhar, right to information (RTI) activist, said, “When we talk about Pune city to some extent people are aware of wearing masks but in rural places near Pune, still people are not wearing masks and no one takes actions against them which need to be taken care off.”

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