Jamshedpur: The deputy commissioner of East Singhbhum Amit Kumar today directed the district officials concerned to strictly implement ban on smoking at public places across the district and prosecute those flouting the prohibition with impunity.
Kumar issued the orders while addressing a workshop organized to create awareness on The Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA), 2003. He said that although committees existed at block, sub division and district level, they were not effective enough as the government officials were already burdened by a huge workload.
He appealed to all officials to keep away from smoking and motivate the employees and the people in general to keep away from the bad habit. He said there was an urgent need to turn all government offices and premises into smoke free or no smoking zones. He said that boards with message on smoking ban should be installed prominently at all public offices and places.
“It is not possible to effectively control smoking just through publicity. The ban should be enforced with the help of flying squads formed at three different levels. Fines should be imposed on violators,” said the DC.
Also present on the occasion, Deepak Mishra, executive director of SEED, said that smoking was banned at all public places that include bus stands, railway stations, recreation centres, libraries, shopping malls, coffee houses, courts, conference rooms, waiting rooms, tea stalls, sweets shops, dhabas, all private and government offices, educational institutions, hospitals and health centres, cinemas, hotels, restaurants, panchayat buildings and squares. He said that gazetted offices, inspectors and officers senior to them and mukhiyas and panchayat committee secretaries were authorised to fine people for smoking at public places and issue challans to them.
Also addressing the workshop, the civil surgeon Dr SK Jha said that COTPA became effective right after it was passed in the year 2003. He said there were 14 to 15 per cent of people in the country who were addicted to tobacco. Pregnant women are mostly affected by smoking, he said, adding that the city could be turned into a smoking-free city on the lines of Chandigarh that had become smoking-free in the year 2013.
Mishra said there was need to spread awareness among the people and motivate them, especially youths to stay away from smoking and all other kinds of addiction. He said that the cooperation of the people was much needed in making COPTA 2003 effective.