Srinagar Mayor Junaid Mattu Wednesday said that Srinagar is still losing precious lives due to COVID19 and people need to follow safety guidelines.
Addressing media persons here, Mattu said that Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) will impose fine under law for not wearing masks. "We are beginning with SMC headquarters. Anyone, be it a visitor, employee or official, will be imposed fine at SMC headquarters from 24 December, 2020 if found without facemask," he said.
He said that same rule would apply to SMC ward offices and the SMC staff in field from tomorrow.
"For common people, the law would come into effect from 1 January 2020. Anyone found without wearing facemask within municipal limits would be fined," he said.
He added that the amount of fine would be from Rs 200 to Rs 500.
Speaking about people who cannot afford to buy a mask, the mayor said that district administration has already distributed around 15 lakh to 20 lakh reusable facemasks in Srinagar. "I think, 99 percent people can afford the facemasks. We will consider about one percent (people) who cannot afford it. But, as of now, let the 99 percent make collective effort to adopt safety guidelines," he said.
The Mayor said that amount collected from fines would be provided to COVID19 designated hospitals to combat pandemic.
"We are still losing precious lives due to COVID19 and safety guidelines need to be followed in letter and spirit. We find lot of people at public places, public transport, and offices not adhering to COVID19 protocol," he said.
He added that SMC has set up 36 teams for enforcing the law regarding wearing of masks and imposing fine on violators.
SMC Commissioner Gazanfar Ali said that Mattu was the first to call for suspension of all kind of gatherings in Srinagar in March 2020 when no case of COVID19 was reported. "That time, some people criticized announcement. However, later people understood the need and extended their cooperation in fighting the pandemic," the Commissioner said.
He added that imposing fine is only meant to encourage people for wearing facemasks.