Penalty may vary from ₹1,500 to ₹ 2,000

If you have violated the three-kilometre radius restriction imposed by the State government during the COVID-19 lockdown, be prepared to pay hefty challans issued on your vehicle.

The Artificial Intelligence-powered automatic number plate reading (ANPR) cameras will track the movements of the vehicles from a point close to location from where you began the trip. Once you cross the three-km radius, cameras at the next junction will read your registration plate and generate a challan for violating the government order.

“To curb unnecessary vehicular movement and strictly impose the 3-km rule, we are using ANPR cameras, AI-based analytics and video analytics to identify the vehicles and owners violating the rule. After identification, a case will be booked against lockdown violators,” a senior police officer told The Hindu.

For instance, if a car is caught on camera at Punjagutta junction, and the same vehicle’s movement is recorded 10 km away at Nalgonda crossroads, a challan will be generated.

On Wednesday alone over 1,000 challans were issued, and the penalty varies anywhere between ₹ 1,500 and ₹2,000. “This is being done to act as a deterrent against those who venture out on the roads for no reason,” he said.

According to the officer, there are at least 1,000 ANPR cameras at 250 junctions in Hyderabad, Cyberabad and Rachakonda commissionerates.

However, it is yet to be ascertained as to how those exempted under essential services, including doctors, nurses, government employees, journalists, will be identified. And if contactless challans are generated how they will be quashed.

When asked another officer said that at this moment it is highly impossible for them to identify the vehicles of those covered under essential services and not issue challans. “Though we have technology, we never faced such situation in the past. A team is working on it,” he added.

Spike in Dial 100 calls

Inquiries on emergency service Dial 100 shot up two-fold, post the lockdown on account of coronavirus scare. Earlier, the number of calls was around 36,000 to 38,000 per day, but after the Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao’s announcement on Tuesday that people in distress and urgent need for travel can call Dial 100, the number climbed to a whopping 70,000. “Many were asking how to reach their native place, as they are stuck in Hyderabad,” an officer said.

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