15 Sep 2008 05:44:00 AM IST
BANGALORE: The ban on smoking in public places is to take effect from October 2, but Health Minister B Sriramulu says such a ban is impractical. The Minister says that since the ban will apply to all public places, implementing it would mean imposing penalties everywhere.
According to the newly notified rules, owners, proprietors, managers, supervisors or officers in-charge of public places have to ensure that “no ashtrays,matches, lighters or other things designed to facilitate smoking are provided in public places”. In case they fail to implement the ban, the authorised officer shall be liable to pay fines equivalent to the number of individual offences that take place in areas under his or her jurisdiction.
“Everybody knows it is very difficult to implement the ban. I feel it is impractical.
But we will do everything possible to restrict smoking in public places.We will give powers to officials at taluk and district levels to implement the ban,” Srimalulu told Express. When asked what a practical solution to prohibit smoking was, he said: “These things take time.” The minister’s remarks assume importance as it is the Health Ministry that has been authorised to impose and collect fines for violations.
As per the Prohibition of Smoking in Public Places Rules, 2008, notified on May 30, the director of public health and the director of health services, along with nodal officers and focal points of anti-tobacco cells will be the authorized officers to impose and collect penalties . Inspectors of central excise, income tax, customs, sales tax and transport and health departments will also have such powers for public places within their jurisdiction.
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Anti-smoking Act: health officers gear up
Shastry V. Mallady
MADURAI: The Health Department is gearing up for the implementation of the Act that bans smoking in public places from October 2.
As a first step, it has instructed health officers to make sure smoking is prohibited in government healthcare institutions, 1,421 primary health centres and 8,700 health sub-centres.
Director of Public Health S. Elango told The Hindu here on Sunday that the Standing Committee on Tobacco Control would meet in Chennai on September 17 to work out procedures for strict implementation.
The Health Secretary will chair the meeting, which will be attended by officials of the Police and Education Departments. Revised rules for prohibition of smoking in public places have been notified by the Centre, and those found smoking in a public place will be fined Rs.200.
“In the Health Department, we have identified the enforcing officers, and health inspectors have been asked to swing into action,” Dr. Elango said. The offices of Deputy Directors of Health Services in all districts will be free of smoking.
He said the officers would inspect the public places from October 2 to ensure they were smoke-free. The list of public places includes shopping malls, cinema halls, public/private workplaces, hotels, airport lounges and railway stations.
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