Karnataka slashes hefty fine for Covid mask violators
Bengaluru: Facing flak on social media and bowing to public pressure, Karnataka on Wednesday drastically reduced the fine for not wearing face masks to Rs 250 from Rs 1,000 in the urban areas (cities) and to Rs 100 from Rs 500 in the rural areas across the southern state.
“The fine for not wearing a face mask has been slashed to Rs 250 in cities and Rs 100 in villages due to public opposition and experts’ opinion against the hefty penalty on the violators,” an official statement said here.
Alarmed by the violation of the mandatory guidelines to wear a face mask and maintain physical distancing to contain the spread of coronavirus in the state, the Karnataka government had on September 30 slapped Rs 1,000 fine on mask violators in cities and Rs 500 in villages.
“Though the state government has been taking measures to contain the infection since mid-March when the virus entered the state, wearing a mask, maintaining social distancing and sanitising hands were made mandatory, and their violation led to Covid cases surging since June 1, when the state began to unlock,” the statement noted.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa urged the citizens to wear face masks voluntarily, use hand sanitisers and maintain social distancing to prevent people from the virus attack.
Even as civic marshals and local police began to fine mask violators in cities and towns across the state, many were unable to pay the hefty amount and preferred to go to jail instead.
“The state government has been trying to balance life and livelihood by relaxing the Covid-induced lockdown and allowing many activities to resume with safety measures,” said Yediyurappa.
With 10,947 new cases till Tuesday, the state’s Covid tally rose to 6,68,652, including 1,16,153 active cases, while 5,42,906 people have been discharged so far, including 9,832 in the last 24 hours till Tuesday midnight.
With 113 more patients succumbing to the infection on Tuesday, the state’s death toll mounted to 9,574.