In view of rising cases of Covid-19, the administration in Himachal Pradesh’s Una district has decided to tighten curbs and impose fines on those not wearing masks.
Those who will be found without a mask in Una will be asked to pay a fine of Rs 5000.
Besides imposing a fine for not wearing a mask, Deputy Commissioner Raghav Sharma also warned all shopkeepers to wear masks else, they will be asked to close their shops and business ventures.
He also said that if street vendors will be caught without masks then their stock of goods will be seized.
Una district has reported the highest infection rate during the past week. The district also reported deaths due to Covid-19.
The decision to impose a fine of Rs 5000 saw frayed tempers with the leader of opposition Mukesh Agnihotri protesting the decision in the state Assembly.
However, the decision was defended by Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur.
“In view of the sudden rise in the cases, the decision is good to send a strong message among the masses. People have become complacent and have stopped wearing masks. It’s not necessary that all the people will face penalties but some of those wilfully defying the orders should not go scot-free”, he said.
Another Congress MLA Harshvardhan Singh Chauhan said, “If these instructions are to be followed, then Chief Minister and his cabinet ministers must also pay Rs 5000 each for not sporting the masks”.
Later in the day, Chief Minister held a meeting with senior officials, passing clear orders about a ban on all “official melas” (events), restricting all gatherings to 50 per cent, and allowing a maximum of 200 people for indoor social gatherings. The organisers will be required to obtain prior permissions from the local Sub-Divisional Magistrates to host any social gathering.
Chief Minister said that a ‘Test, Track and Treat’ strategy must be implemented effectively. Ruling out the possibility of a lockdown he said that RTCPR tests must be increased and the containment zone approach must be implemented strictly.
In the past 24 hours, Himachal Pradesh has reported 139 new Covid-19 cases, raising the total number of active cases to 1124. The death toll in the state has also increased to 1004.
Despite a surge in covid spread, the state is not seeing any drop in tourist influx.
For in-depth, objective and more importantly balanced journalism, Click here to subscribe to Outlook Magazine