New Delhi: Amid the rising number of coronavirus cases, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had increased the fine for not wearing the face mask from Rs 500 to Rs 2,000. Initially, within four days of increasing the fine amount for mask violation, the Delhi Police had collected nearly Rs 1.5 crore as challans, as per reports. “The authorised persons shall be empowered to impose a fine of Rs 2,000 for the offence of violating the directives pertaining to the observation of quarantine rule, making of social distancing, wearing of face mask in all public places, prohibition of spitting at public places and prohibition of consumption of paan, gutka, tobacco, etc. in public places,” a statement issued by the lieutenant governor’s office said. “With an aim to create ‘effective deterrence’ and penalise the violators in an ‘exemplary’ way, it was considered necessary to hike the fine amount for not wearing face masks from Rs 500 to Rs 2,000,” stated the notification.
“The decision was taken as an extraordinary measure in the face of a sudden surge in Covid-19 cases in Delhi during the last fortnight, despite best efforts being put in by various field agencies on all fronts,” it added. This move seems to have had an impact, as there has been a decline in the number of mask violation cases now. According to data (till the time the story went to press) shared by Delhi Police, the total number of challans issued till date for mask violation is 5,08,314. The total number of challans issued for social distancing violation to date is 37,708. The Delhi Police has also distributed 40,8583 masks to date to needy persons. “The impact of increasing the fine has been good. Compliance has definitely increased. Nobody wants to get caught since the challans have been increased four times. We are targeting markets and places with heavy footfall since violation possibility is the most in these places. We also provide masks to the poor people and we also make announcements through various modes,” Eish Singhal, DCP, New Delhi. The main focus of Delhi Police is on busy markets like Sadar Bazar, Lajpat Nagar, Sarojini Nagar etc. which attract heavy footfall. Arun Singh, a resident of Mahavir Enclave, told The Sunday Guardian: “I genuinely believe that this is a very good step taken by the Delhi government amid the rising number of coronavirus cases. However, some people are still not following norms. But I am sure that this increase in fine will definitely decrease the number of violators.”
Meanwhile, some people told The Sunday Guardian that there won’t be much impact. “People who want to follow the protocols will follow it and people who don’t want to, will not follow and it doesn’t matter how much the fines are increased. This is just a publicity stunt and it will only benefit the corrupt cops,” Aditya Bhadori, a resident of Rajapuri told The Sunday Guardian.
Last week, MLAs were seen taking rounds in their constituency and requesting locals to wear masks. Kalkaji’s MLA Atishi distributed protective face masks in Govindpuri. She encouraged the residents and shop owners to keep a set of masks and distribute them to those who were not wearing them. According to reports, a mask distribution and social distancing awareness campaign were organised at Shanti Marg, West Vinod Nagar, and Narwana Road in Patparganj, focusing on local citizens, fruit sellers, and shopkeepers. Deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia led an awareness campaign on social distancing and distributed free masks in Patparganj, his constituency.