As many as 46,090 people were challaned, 1,561 arrested and a fine of Rs 2.63 crore recovered by authorities from people for not wearing facemasks, spitting at public places, not following social distancing norms, or violating the night curfew rules in Chandigarh since March 23 when the second wave of Covid led to a sudden surge in the number of cases, data provided by the district administration said.
The maximum challans – 20,281 out of 46,090 – were issued for not wearing face masks followed by 19,030 challans for not following social distancing norms. At least, 4,364 challans were issued for spitting in public places.
A look at the challan figures, gathered from the police department, also suggested that the maximum fines were issued in the east subdivision of Chandigarh police. The subdivision comprises six police stations — Mani Majra, Mauli Jagran, PS 26, IT Park, PS 19, and Industrial Area. Most of the densely populated colonies, rehabilitation colonies of the district fall under the jurisdiction of these police stations.
Sources said, “The authorities had almost stopped fining people when the first wave of Covid ebbed. Merely, 11,536 challans were issued and Rs 72.34 lakh collected between January 1 and March 18 in Chandigarh. The drive was only intensified after the intervention of UT Administrator VP Singh Badnore, who had instructed DGP Sanjay Baniwal to deal with violators strictly during a war room meeting held on March 17. Since then, an intensive challan drive was launched. Moreover, PCR personnel, along with traffic cops, who earlier focused only on regulating traffic and attending emergency calls, respectively, too were allowed to challans the violators. At least 2,415 challans out of 46,090 were issued by these two wings. Of these, 1,527 challans fines were issued by the traffic police personnel.”
Besides these, at least 1012 FIRs for various Covid-related offences, including violation of night curfew guidelines, was registered and at least 1,561 people were arrested. The arrested included 221 morning/evening walkers, who were apprehended in public parks, Sukhna Lake, and Rose Garden. The night curfew timing in Chandigarh is from 6pm to 5am.
At least 325 people out of arrested 1,561 were arrested for not wearing facemasks. 934 people were arrested for violating the orders issued from the office of District Magistrate under Section 144 of CrPC.
SP (Chandigarh) Ketan Bansal said, “We were instructed to have a zero-tolerance approach against people found involved in the violations of Covid-19 guidelines. The drive against offenders will continue. There are reports about the possible third wave of the virus, and we were told by the higher-ups to not slow down the drive at this time.”