Andhra Pradesh

Not wearing a mask in public places will cost you ₹100

A man paying the fine for not wearing mask, in Vijayawada on Tuesday.

A man paying the fine for not wearing mask, in Vijayawada on Tuesday.   | Photo Credit: THE HINDU

Special teams formed to ensure guidelines are followed

Many road users were in for a rude surprise on Tuesday, when plainclothed men stopped them at Benz Circle and were asked to pay ₹100. The same was observed at Daba Kotlu Centre, Chitti Nagar and other places too.

What bewildered them even more was that these men did not ask for their driving licence or RC. Instead, the fine, collected instantaneously, was for not wearing masks.

Surprise inspections

It was part of a special drive initiated by the district administration as per which persons seen in public places without wearing masks would be slapped a fine of ₹100. The drive began more than a fortnight ago with District Collector A. Mohammed Imtiaz conducting surprise inspections on Mahatma Gandhi Road in the city and collecting fines from at least 20 persons.

The administration had constituted five teams of three persons, each headed by a sanitation secretary of a ward secretariat. The other two are employees working in the sanitation wing of the Vijayawada Municipal Corporation (VMC). Their job is to inspect public places like rythu bazaars and impose the penalty on violators.

Since its inception, the five teams have collected more than ₹2.43 lakh from people for not adhering to COVID norms. About ₹1,000 per day is collected by each team.

“We have no targets. But this exercise is being carried out to ensure that at least 10 persons change their attitude. People should fix it in their minds that they have to follow the guidelines,” says a member of the team.

No escape

The violators, however, come up with innumerable pleas to avoid the fine. When caught, a few pull out masks from their pockets. Some plead that they were not carrying cash. But the POS machine given by the government has a facility to swipe a debit/credit card too, to see to it that they don’t get away without paying the sum.

“Sometimes, we tell the violators that they would be shifted to quarantine centres if they continued plying on the road without masks,” says another member.

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Printable version | Aug 4, 2020 5:51:50 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/not-wearing-a-mask-in-public-places-will-cost-you-100/article32016171.ece

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