More than 4,500 people have been fined for Rs 22 lakh in total in the city for not wearing masks since the mask mandate returned amid a spike in coronavirus cases, according to government data.
The Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) had in a meeting last month decided to re-impose mask mandate with a fine of Rs 500 for any violation. On April 22, it made wearing masks in public places mandatory again.
Between April 23 and May 4, a total of 4,504 people were fined for not wearing masks, with the maximum fines (1133) imposed in East district, followed by New Delhi (705), South West (588), North East (562), and South East (553). There were zero mask prosecutions in Shahdara and Central districts.
West district reported 65 such violations, while north with 221, south with 414, New Delhi with 216, and northwest with 263 fines reported less than 500 such violations.
The government has imposed fines of Rs 22,05,500 in all for mask violation and has collected Rs 7,66,500 of it till now.
An official from southeast district said, “We are averaging around 100 challans per day and targeting those areas which see mass assemblage like markets, mandis, etc. There are eight teams involved in the exercise. The numbers might be higher on weekends since more people are stepping out”.
He noted that the numbers are lower than before since the focus is now more on “educating” the masses.
“Those travelling together in a private four-wheeler are out of the purview of the rules. This could be one of the reasons for the lesser number of challans. Now the focus is more on educating more and more people on wearing mask,” he said.
Another official said that in view of the government offices running with full capacity and their staff withdrawn from COVID-19 duties, there is a shortage of staff involved in issuing fines.
On April 2, the Delhi government lifted the penalty of Rs 500 for not wearing face masks at public places in view of a steady subsiding of fresh COVID cases.
Delhi reported 1,354 COVID-19 cases with a positivity rate of 7.64 per cent and one death due to the infection on Wednesday.