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Smoking at a pub? Avoid the owner

delhi Updated: Jan 28, 2009 00:34 IST
Anuradha Mukherjee
Anuradha Mukherjee
Hindustan Times
Smoking at a pub? Avoid the owner

Planning to puff away on the sly in a corner in your office? Think again, because now apart from taking regular disciplinary action, organisations may be legally bestowed with punitive powers.

If the Delhi government has its way, anybody who runs a public establishment in the city will be able to fine those smoking in prohibited spaces.

So, if you are caught smoking in a restaurant in a non-smoking zone, the owner of the establishment will be empowered by law to not just throw you out, but also fine you Rs 200 for the offence.

Delhi Health Minister Kiran Walia said it was a right step ahead of the Commonwealth Games. "Games are an opportunity to meet international specifications. This will decentralise the enforcement of the law against smoking in public places. Basically, if the proposal is cleared, a hotel can now not just object to those smoking in a no-smoking zone, but also issue a challan," said Delhi Health Minister Kiran Walia.

This is apart from the mobile squads of the Delhi Health Department that conducts regular raids in public places and vehicles for catching offenders.

A proposal to this effect is going to be tabled in front of the Delhi cabinet on Wednesday.

After the ban came in to force across the country on October 2, 4,035 individuals have been fined in Delhi for smoking in public places.

The department has also collected over Rs 4.25 lakh as fine. So far all gazetted officers in state and central government departments are authorised to fine offenders.

"This move hopes to extend the ambit of the law. There are places where these raiding teams do not have access like private offices. We are trying to make Delhi smoke-free with a mix of advocacy and punitive measures," added Walia.

Apart from this, the government is tying up with the Bloomberg Global Initiative for prevention of smoking in public places. "This is a conglomerate of many international bodies that have worked in this field. We will benefit from their experience in advocacy as well as technologies to measure levels of nicotine indoors," added Walia.