MP to set up anti-tobacco watchdog in government schools | bhopal | Hindustan Times
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MP to set up anti-tobacco watchdog in government schools

The Madhya Pradesh government has decided to set up anti-tobacco committees in government schools across the state to discourage use of tobacco by students and teachers alike.

bhopal Updated: Jan 08, 2015 22:35 IST
Shahroz Afridi

The Madhya Pradesh government has decided to set up anti-tobacco committees in government schools across the state to discourage use of tobacco by students and teachers alike.

The committees will be in force from the next academic session, Bhopal education minister Deepak Joshi told HT on Thursday.

The committees will be represented by parents, teachers, students, beat police inspector and one district administration official. However, the functions and responsibilities of each member would be decided later, the minister said.

Joshi has named these panels ‘discipline committees’. The panel will counsel the students and teachers against using tobacco products, he said.

The decision is in line with the country’s anti-tobacco legislation, popularly known as COPTA (Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution Act, 2003). In 2007-8, the Government of India had launched a National Tobacco Control Programme (NTCP) to better implement the legislation. The programme is under implementation in 21 out of 35 states/Union territories in the country.

Giving a rough outline of the move in Madhya Pradesh, the minister said the committees would primarily serve as information and counselling channels. He said the students would serve as the first link of the information chain which would culminate at the think tank level formed by teachers, parents and the officials. The latter would decide and implement case-specific counselling strategies to help the addict shun the habit, Joshi said. The committee would empower the teachers to frisk students and confiscate tobacco products in their possession and plan a counselling regime.

Education department sources said in case a student or a teacher was found addicted to tobacco, the help of de-addiction centres could be sought.

They said the main job of the administrative and police members would be to ensure that the tobacco shops didn’t operate in the close vicinity of schools.

The Section 6 (b) of COPTA bans the sale of tobacco products within a radius of 100 yards (300 feet) of an educational institution.