Mumbaiites will have to pay anywhere between Rs. 300 and Rs. 3,000 or even be imprisoned if found smoking or chewing gutkha within 100m vicinity of a school or college campus.
A special drive, that will also enable school and college principals to levy such fines along with the police department, takes off from Monday for the next eight days.
While school and college authorities can collect a fine amounting to Rs. 300, the police can levy a minimum fine of Rs. 1,200. If there is criminal prosecution, the offender can get up to one year in prison and/ or a fine of up to Rs. 1,000. A second offence can lead to up to two years in prison and/or fine of up to Rs. 3,000.
“According to a provision in the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act, 2003, (COPTA), sale and advertisement of tobacco or related products are banned within 100 m of educational institutes and airports. We are only making sure it is being implemented,” said minister for State for Home and Food and Drug Administration, Satej Patil, who is spearheading the mission.
“Apart from the police, 26 other authorities, including principals and librarians, can fine anyone found violating the law,” Patil added.
To make rules more stringent, Patil wrote to the state urban development department to amend the shops act to make sure that paan shops are not located within 100m of such campuses.
“This can be done by making a change in the current act since shops will argue that they have legal permissions to function. But we will have a say on what they can and cannot sell as per the COPTA rules,” he added.