THE PUNJAB government has collected a whopping Rs 15 crore in fines amid the Covid-19 pandemic for violations ranging from not wearing masks, to spitting in public places to flouting home quarantine and social distancing guidelines.
The lion’s share of the amount (Rs 14.90 crore) came from those not wearing masks in public places (till July 31), showed official data accessed by The Indian Express. As many as 3,54,173 people were fined in the state and 1,460 FIRs were registered for this violation.
The highest number of FIRs for not wearing masks was registered in Jalandhar (551), followed by Ludhiana (291) and Batala police district (258). Ludhiana and Jalandhar have reported the highest number of Covid cases and deaths so far. While Ludhiana has recorded 115 deaths and 3,714 cases so far, Jalandhar has reported 2,610 cases and 55 deaths. Amritsar has reported 1,985 cases and 85 deaths.
In Ludhiana, Rs 1.86 crore was collected from 40,446 persons fined for not wearing masks, followed by Jalandhar (Rs 1.19 crore) where 25,308 people were fined and Ropar (Rs 91.81 lakh) where 18,907 were fined. In Ropar, 59 FIRs were registered for not wearing masks.
Ropar Senior Superintendent of Police Swapan Sharma said, “Some violators would agree to pay fine, others would boast of connections and drop names. In those cases, FIRs were lodged.”
Another senior police officer who did not wish to be named said that those who failed to pay the fine amount were also booked. The FIRs were registered under the Epidemic Diseases and Disaster Management Acts.
The fine for not wearing a mask in a public place in the state is presently Rs 500, revised from Rs 200 in the last week of May.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines