The Mumbai police have seized a huge cache of face mask from a godown in Bhiwandi in Mumbai. The 25 lakhs seized masks are worth over Rs 15 crore.
In the wake of coronavirus cases in India, the government has declared face masks and sanitisers under the list of essential goods. Hoarding and black marketing of it is a crime under the Essential Commodities Act.
According to the report, the Mumbai police got a tip-off that a huge amount of face masks have been hidden in a godown. Acting on the tip-off, the Mumbai police reached the location and found that facemasks worth crore were tucked in boxes and stacked in the godown.
Of the total, police found over 100,000 high-quality N95, and the remaining 3 -ply masks hoarded inside the godown. N95 masks are in high demand and generally sell at a higher price in the market.
Police have arrested four persons including the godown owner.
According to the police, the accused allegedly were planning to sell the masks in the black market despite government order against it. The government has banned exports or hoarding of face masks in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The seized has now been shifted to Andheri sports complex and will soon be distributed for the health workers in hospitals under BMC and Haffkine Institute in Pune.
What doctors say about masks
Doctors and health policymakers have claimed that a healthy person does not need to use face masks and only those who attending COVID-19 patients or are themselves coronavirus positive need to wear face masks.
However, unfounded fear has led many to buy face masks in bulk and hoard leading to a shortage of face masks even for the health workers and those at the frontline in tackling the disease.
In order to increase the supply of face masks and sanitizers, the government has allowed sanitiser manufactures to make more of it under the existing license.