Considering Spot Fines at Airports for Flouting COVID Rules: DGCA

“During the surveillance of some airports, it has come to notice that compliance is not satisfactory,” DGCA said.

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The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Tuesday, 30 March, issued a circular, saying that a levy of spot fine at airports shall be considered to serve as a deterrent for violation of the COVID-19 protocol.

In an advisory circular, Joint Director General Sunil Kumar called for ensuring that COVID-appropriate protocols are followed properly at airports, amid a surge in the number of infections in India in what is being called the 'second wave' of the pandemic.

"During the surveillance of some airports, it has come to notice that compliance is not satisfactory. All airport operators, therefore, are requested to ensure that the instructions on COVID-19 protocol from the standpoint of wearing face masks well as maintaining social distance norms within the airport premises are followed scrupulously. Accordingly, all airport operators may enhance surveillance towards this end," the circular states.

"The possibility of taking punitive action, such as levy of spot fines...shall also be explored with the local police authorities so as to serve a deterrent for violation of COVID-19 protocol," it added.

Later on Tuesday, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri also tweeted, saying that advisories had been issued to all airports for compliance, and added, “We are moving in the direction of punitive action by police against passengers who don't comply.”

Earlier in March 2020, new guidelines regarding COVID-19 norms for passengers onboard aircrafts were formulated by the DGCA.

Passengers will be “de-boarded” from flights if they don’t wear masks properly inside the aircraft or don’t follow “COVID-19-appropriate behaviour”, it had said.

If the passenger violates these norms repeatedly, in spite of warnings, they will be treated as "unruly passengers", the aviation regulator further said.

Coronavirus cases in India have been rising rapidly of late, with the state of Maharashtra leading the surge. On Tuesday, India reported 56,211 new coronavirus cases, taking the tally in the country to 1,20,95,855. The death toll increased by 271 to 1,62,114.

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