Guj govt collected Rs 115 cr in fines from mask violators

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Ahmedabad, Dec 24 (PTI) The state government on Thursday informed the Gujarat High Court that it has collected nearly Rs 115 crore in fines from over 23 lakh people found without masks amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The state government, in its affidavit, stated that till December 22, Rs 1,15,88,00,000 have been collected from 23,64,420 persons for not wearing masks or appropriately covering their faces.

The affidavit was submitted to the division bench comprising Chief Justice Vikram Nath and Justice J B Pardiwala.

The bench is hearing a suo motu plea regarding various aspects related to the COVID-19 outbreak in the state. The bench admitted the reply and kept further hearing on January 8.

While listing several steps it had taken to stem the viral spread, the state government said it had restricted celebrations of various festivals, such as Navratri, Eid, Janmashtmi and Holi.

In an assurance to the court, the government said, 'A core committee consisting of senior-level bureaucrats has been constituted under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Vijay Rupani. The committee conducts meetings on a daily basis, where the response of the state to COVID-19 is reviewed.' 'lt is pertinent to note that the Government has requisitioned the services of approximately 900 MBBS doctors who have received their medical degrees from medical colleges and had earlier been asked to work in rural areas on a three- year bond period,' it said.

The services of such doctors have been placed at the disposal of the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation, it said.

The state has also requisitioned the services of third and four-year medical students, nursing students and almost 6,597 students are a part of surveillance and testing teams, the reply stated.

The government also stressed that there is no shortage of beds in Ahmedabad and the state.

ln Ahmedabad city, a total of 8,553 beds are available for COVID-19 patients in 128 government and private Hospitals, an increase of over 1,000 beds in one month, the government said, adding that only 11 per cent beds are currently occupied in Ahmedabad city. PTI PJT PD ARU ARU