The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) on Monday increased the fine for not wearing a mask and spitting in public places from Rs 200 to Rs 500. The civic body also announced a penalty of Rs 10,000 for owners of paan shops, if people are caught spitting in its vicinity.
In the two weeks of July so far during Unlock-2, the AMC has penalised 1.72 lakh persons and sealed 94 units for violation of wearing masks and social distancing norms. Over Rs 1.52 crore has been collected by the AMC during the period starting from May till date.
On Monday alone, a total of Rs 3.59 lakh was collected in fines by drive conducted by 151 AMC teams. Officials shared that these fine included both the earlier Rs 200 as well as the hiked fine of Rs 500, post 4 pm when the order of increase in the penalty amount was issued.
The fine of Rs 3.59 lakh included 856 persons penalised for not wearing masks, collecting a fine of Rs 2.56 lakh while 376 pan shops were sealed at the same time. Also, Rs 1.02 lakh was collected in fine from pan shops flouting masks and spitting norms. Among the 376 sealed units, the highest was from the West zone where 71 pan shops were sealed followed by the South zone where 67 were sealed.
‘To maintain a situation where the number of coronavirus cases is under control, it is essential for residents to wear masks, maintain social distancing and not spit in public. Unfortunately, many residents are not following these rules. The practice of people stepping out of their homes without masks is being noted in abundance and poses a risk to public health. Thus, after deliberations, the existing fine of Rs 200 for not wearing masks and spitting in public has been increased to Rs 500. If customers around paan shops are found spitting in the open, a fine of Rs 10,000 will be imposed on the owners,” stated the order issued by Additional Chief Secretary (Forest and Environment) Rajiv Kumar Gupta.
However, the Ahmedabad Hospitals and Nursing Homes Association (AHNA) that had written a letter to Chief Minister Vijay Rupani last week, suggesting stringent penalties of Rs 10,000 per instance for not wearing masks, said the hike will barely serve the purpose.
“Why not impose a higher fine? Stringent penalties tend to bring in discipline. The fine needs to be of a prohibitory nature. At present, people are not ready to use masks on flimsy grounds, such as not being able to talk properly or others not recognising them. This hike will not make any difference, make it at least Rs 5,000,” said president of AHNA, Dr Bharat Gadhavi.
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