CHENNAI: In the first of its kind occurrence in the city, a morning walker was fined Rs 100 for violating lockdown norms. The man from T Nagar left for his usual walking route, to Pondy Bazaar, at around 7 am on Thursday. Much to his surprise, the police personnel stopped and issued him a challan for Rs 100.
The category of violation in the challan was put as ‘morning walk’. The man said for the past three months nobody stopped me. Also, I was walking alone and not in a group. Civic activists said that they were unaware of any such rule. “Section 144 restricts people from gathering in groups. But stopping morning walkers is new to us. Also, it is not that big an offence as to warrant a fine.
Before fining, the officials must spread a word that it is an offence. As all throughout the lockdown, morning walkers have been venturing out,” said civic activist T Sadagoppan. Some others, however, think this is the way ahead. “Collecting fine actually makes sense because these walkers will not stop with just walking, they will have tea, sit for a chat with fellow walkers among other things.
Though it did not happen in the intense lockdown, I have seen morning walkers talking in groups last month. Violators must be penalised,” said R Usha, a resident of Besant Nagar. When contacted, Meghanath Reddy, Deputy Commissioner (Revenue & Finance) said the issue was brought to their notice and were unaware who fined the walker.
“Revenue department looks at fines and social distancing violations only in establishments. We are trying to find out who issued the challan. However, we urge the public to stay indoors,” he said.