Telangana starts penalising those not wearing masks

Taking a lead, police in Peddapalli district imposed a fine of Rs 1,000 each on at least 54 people found violating the order on masks.

Hyderabad: Telangana Police have started to crack down on those not wearing masks in public places despite the orders issued by the state government.

Taking a lead, police in Peddapalli district imposed a fine of Rs 1,000 each on at least 54 people found violating the order on masks.

A police officer said a fine of Rs 1,000 will be imposed on anybody found without mask. Action was already initiated against the violators in Peddapalli, Godavarikhani and Sultanabad areas under the limits of Ramagundam police commissionerate.

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The violators will have to pay the penalty in courts. Police have appealed to people to strictly follow the mask-on rule and avoid being penalised.

Worried over the surge in Covid-19 cases, the state government on March 27 issued new guidelines, making it mandatory for people to wear masks while stepping out into public places. It said those violating the diktat will be subjected to strict punishment, even imprisonment.

The order issued by Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar made wearing of masks mandatory in all public places, workspaces and public means of transport across the state.

“Any deviation in this regard shall attract prosecution under Section 51 and 60 of Disaster Management Act 2005 and Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code (Disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant),” reads the order.

Under Sections 51 to 60 of the Disaster Management Act, anybody found obstructing an officer or employee from performing duty will be imprisoned for a term, which may extend to one year or fine, or both.

The state government directed the District Collectors and Commissioner/Superintendent of Police to strictly implement the usage of masks.

However, there was hardly any action on the part of police during last four days to enforce the mask regulation. Not many people in the state capital and districts are seen wearing masks.

There were only a few instances of authorities imposing fine on violators. Authorities in the Secunderabad Cantonment area imposed a fine of Rs 2,000 on a supermarket for not following Covid-19 norms, including staff not wearing masks.

The police took up awareness campaign across the state on wearing of masks. They advised people to mask up or face a penalty.

Hyderabad Police Commissioner Anjani Kumar said they were trying to create public awareness on the need to wear masks in view of the possible second wave of Covid.

Police at few places conducted programmes with performers wearing masks to create awareness among people.

Rachakonda Police Commissioner Mahesh Bhagwat warned that those who do not wear masks will be prosecuted and Rs 1,000 fine will be imposed.

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