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Covid-19: Ahmedabad sting video shows blatant violation of rules

Rutam Vora Ahmedabad | Updated on September 28, 2020 Published on September 28, 2020

Uncovers meet-ups, parties at eateries, crowding at market places, disregard for masks

In a rare instance of a civic body conducting a sting operation on its own citizens, the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) secretly videographed prominent places in the city and discovered gross negligence and serious lapses on the part of citizens in adhering to Covid-19 safety protocols.

 

In a unique experiment to check people’s awareness and compliance with Covid-19 safety norms, AMC — the largest civic body of Gujarat — conducted a reality check on people’s Covid-19 preparedness, while being out at food joints, tea stalls, pan shops, market places and gardens.

The video, shared by AMC, showed young boys and girls grouping together at various locations across the city shopping, chatting over tea, enjoying paani puri (pakodi), tucking in vada pav, smoking, chewing paan masala and relaxing with friends amidst the ongoing Covid-19 unlock process.

But all of this was found to be done without due care for social distancing and wearing of masks.

The sting operation conducted on September 25 showed people in almost all parts of the city violating rules, irrespective of the location and type of locality, be it the old city area, labour markets, vegetable markets, newly-developed upscale residential areas or corporate business hubs.

Also read: https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/news/national/is-ahmedabad-at-risk-of-second-wave-of-covid-19-infections/article32512560.ece

Commenting on the video grabs, Rajiv Kumar Gupta, Additional Chief Secretary, Government of Gujarat, said, “People have been repeatedly asked, fined and appealed to wear masks and maintain social distancing. But from the video grabs it seems that people — especially the youth — are blatantly violating the rules. The young boys and girls don’t understand the seriousness (of the matter). Even if they catch the viral infection, they might remain asymptomatic, but it poses a risk to the elderly in their families.”

“AMC has taken strong actions to check the compliance of Covid-19 protocols. But looking at the laxity of the youth, AMC will take stricter and extensive measures. Unlock should not be misused,” said Gupta, in-charge of Covid-19 management in Ahmedabad.

In the video footage, most of the youth were seen without masks. Some vendors and hawkers had their masks on, but kept them hanging below their chins. Most of the female vendors showed complete disregard to masks.

Also read: https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/news/covid-19-after-pms-remarks-gujarat-nearly-doubles-daily-tests/article32358101.ece

So far, the AMC has penalised 4.5 lakh people for a total fine of ₹2.24 crore, for not wearing masks. Nearly 7,000 people were fined for a total of ₹27 lakh for spitting on public roads. Over 600 pan shops and 35 tea stalls were sealed, while over 55,000 shops, commercial units, and pedlars have been penalised for a collective penalty of close to ₹2 crore and about 90 big malls, restaurants and shopping areas were sealed across the city for violation of SOPs and rules.

Total fine collected by AMC and city policy for violation of Covid-19 safety norms has crossed ₹5.5 crore. The city’s total Covid-19 cases have crossed 35,000 with 1,800 deaths as on September 27.

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Published on September 28, 2020
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