Pune: Considering the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in Maharastra, the state government has decided to extend the lockdown until July 31.
Adding to the development, district authorities have decided to put the onus of controlling the spread of the virus on Gram Panchayat of villages surrounding Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad area.
Many villages line the border of these areas which are managed by Gram Panchayats. But like in the city, people are actively seen violating norms of social distancing and wearing a mask while venturing out.
In an attempt to reduce the risk of spreading the virus, authorities have begun levying a fine of Rs 500 on villagers for not wearing masks and spitting in public places.
It is believed that the "casual approach" adopted by these villages are about social distancing is adding to the risk of spreading the virus.
Lack of manpower was cited as the main reason behind the inability to take action, but now the authorities have decided to hold the Sarpanch and Deputy Sarpanch accountable for such duties.
In a recent order released by Sachin Barawkar, sub-divisional officer (SDO) of Haveli, villages are guided on taking actions against errant citizens.
"Errant citizens need to be penalised with the help of local police and gram panchayat. Failure of effective execution will invite action under various sections of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, against the village sarpanch and deputy sarpanch,” the order reads.
According to the order, hall owners and priests will also be booked and licenses can be cancelled for violating guidelines during marriages and final rites.