Gujarat govt collects Rs 116 crore in mask fines

Gujarat govt collects Rs 116 crore in mask fines

Earlier this month, the high court had ordered the state to make a rule to punish violators with 5-10 days' mandatory non-medical community service at coronavirus care centres

A social worker dressed as Santa Claus distributes facemasks to commuters as part of an awareness campaign against the Covid-19 coronavirus at a traffic junction in Ahmedabad on December 18, 2020. Credit: AFP Photo

Gujarat collected a whopping Rs 116 crore as fines from 23.64 lakh people till December 22 for not wearing masks, the state government informed the Gujarat High Court on Thursday, revealing the extent of the violations in the western state.

"Whole response of the state to Covid-19 rests upon the implementation of various guidelines, notifications, prescriptions, etc issued by the government. Without proper and meaningful implementation, all efforts of the state would be futile and theoretical. In this regard, it is imperative to bring to the attention of the court that till 22.12.2020, a total fine of Rs.1,15,88,600/- has been collected from 23,64,420 persons for not wearing face masks or appropriately covering their faces," the state government's affidavit in the high court stated.

The state government has also claimed that various guidelines were issued for conducting bypolls for eight Assembly seats in November for maintaining social distancing and other norms.

"The activities in specific areas were under close surveillance by concerned authorities. Necessary guidelines were also issued to take precautions for door-to-door campaigns, roadshows/rallies, election meetings and gatherings etc. during these periods." The affidavit has been filed by Principal Secretary, Department of Health and Family Welfare, Jayanti Ravi.

The state government had made masks mandatory in public places since the Covid-19 outbreak in March, with officials imposing a steep Rs 1,000 fine for violations.

The fine amount was raised from Rs 500 to Rs 1,000 after the HC ordered the state to do so noting a rise in mask violations.

Earlier this month, the high court had ordered the state to make a rule to punish violators with 5-10 days' mandatory non-medical community service at coronavirus care centres.