A total of 17,39,809 people across the state have been fined for not wearing masks in public places in around four months, amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation Deputy Municipal Commissioner Nitin Sangwan was also penalised Rs 1,000 on Tuesday for not wearing mask at a cycling event that he flagged off earlier in the day.
A challan was issued against Sangwan by the west zone solid waste management team after several mediapersons pointed out the lapse on his part. Commenting on social media with an image of the receipt, Sangwan tweeted, “Today morning I happened to pull down my mask while attending this event. It was indeed a terrible mistake to do so. But I am happy that AMC took immediate note of it and took quick action. Request all to follow social distancing and mask related guidelines, come what may…” The Gujarat Police will intensify their drive against mask violations especially at night in Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara and Rajkot.
The ongoing drive comes in the backdrop of the recent decision by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) to shut down shops, restaurants and eateries between 10 pm to 6 am at 27 popular market places in the city after finding several people flouting norms of social distancing and face masks while congregating at these places.
The police will now be using public addressal system outside famous joints and eateries at night time to spread the message of necessary compliance of masks in public places where congregations of people will be seen.
According to statistics revealed by the Gujarat Police, from June 15 to September 27, a total of 17,39,809 people have been fined to the tune of Rs 53.70 crore for not wearing masks in which Ahmedabad has topped the list followed by Surat, Rajkot and Vadodara. The fine amount for not wearing masks in public places is Rs 1,000 as per the state government.
According to a statement released by the office of the Inspector General (IG) of Law and Order in Gujarat on September 25, the state government had released a notification on May 30 and the health department had issued on June 15 for collection of fine from citizens for not wearing masks in public places, asking Gujarat Police to ensure the guidelines are followed.
Narsimha Komar, IG, Law and Order, said that the intention behind such drives by the police is to educate the masses regarding the persisting threat of coronavirus infection.
“Our aim is to not collect the fine rupees but enforcement objective is to ensure that the people follow the set guidelines of social distancing. The police will also be using public addressal system and teams will be visiting places at night hours to check if SOPs are being followed and there are no congregations. Our objective is not to penalise but to educate the masses… we have also distributed masks for free among poor people,” said Komar.
A senior officer at the Ahmedabad city police control room also said that the drive by police will intensify in coming days. “On Monday, 1,837 people were fined in Ahmedabad city for not wearing masks,” said the officer.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines