KATHMANDU, May 24: Any individual, who breaches the safety protocols enforced by the government in the federal capital may have to face a cash fine of up to Rs 500,000 and a jail term of one year, with the government enforcing the COVID-19 Risk Management Ordinance, 2021 starting Monday.
Issuing a public notice, the District Administration Office (DAO), Kathmandu, said those who are found creating hindrances in the implementation of the rules set by the ordinance will be subjected to the maximum amount of cash in fines and the imprisonment. “If individuals who do not follow safety protocols as defined in the ordinance will be slapped a maximum of Rs 300,000 fines or imprisonment of six months or both,” reads the notice.
In case an individual breaches any clause of the ordinance, the government authorities concerned will charge a cash fine of Rs 100,000 and it will be Rs 500,000 for an organization. President Bidya Devi Bhandari on Friday issued the ordinance.
Although the ordinance is said to have been introduced to contain further spread of COVID-19, critics have seen this as an attempt of the government to curb anti-government protests being launched by opposition parties against the recent anti-constitutional moves taken by the government. The agitating groups have been staging demonstrations against President Bhandari and Prime Minister KP Oli in recent days.
The ordinance has also paved a way for the government to enforce a state of emergency across the country or in any parts of the country if COVID-19 infection poses a serious threat to public health or if the pandemic is seen to spread further.
As per the DAO’s direction, the authorities can penalize a cash fine of Rs 100 each time to those commuters who do not wear a face mask while going outside their homes. A pedestrian, who cannot show purpose of going out during the prohibition period is subjected to pay a fine of Rs 200 each time. The cash fine for a two-wheeler and four-wheeler on similar charges is determined Rs 2,000 and Rs 5,000, respectively.
In case any organization defies the clauses of the ordinance, the authority can close operation of the entity for six months in addition to the cash penalty and jail term mentioned in ordinance, DAO, Kathmandu said.