It was in 2008 that Delhi University was declared a smoke-free campus, but it’s far from getting there, suggests a new survey by anti-smoking group Step India Foundation.
Their campaign, called Smoke Minus India, identifies five areas where most of DU’s North Campus goes to smoke. The Delhi School of Economics tops the list, followed by the Faculty of Law, St Stephen’s College and the DUSU office area.
“We conducted the survey across all colleges in the North Campus. Over 1,500 students were made to fill up forms, which had questions such as ‘Do you smoke?’, ‘If yes, which is your preferred place of smoking on the campus?’ It was Delhi School of Economics which featured the most,” says Basant Jha, campaign head.
“Not all the students of DSE smoke, but walk into the area during college hours, and you’ll always spot someone smoking. The administration needs to wake up to all of this,” he adds.
In 2009, a similar list by the World Lung Foundation-South Asia also put Delhi School of Economics on the top, and the Law Faculty canteen on number two.
“The JP Tea Stall at DSE the coolest place for sutta breaks,” says Nidhi Mehra, a BSc (Hons) student. “For us, it’s the law canteen,” says another student, wishing not to be named. DU officials say they’re trying their best to check the practice. “Delhi University is very much a no-smoking zone, and there is every effort to maintain that. There cannot be checks 24/7, but offenders are fined immediately,” says HP Singh, the University proctor.
Top 5 smoking addas in DU
1 JP Tea Stall at Delhi School of Economics
2 Faculty of Law canteen
3 Area around the Nescafe outlet at St Stephen’s College
4 DUSU office area (next to Law faculty)
5 Area between PG Women’s Hostel and back gate of Miranda House College
A puff won’t come easy now
* According to university authorities, the Delhi High Court has asked the university to issue directions to all its colleges to appoint nodal officers who are to ensure that no tobacco outlet is found within a 100-yard radius of the respective college
* Many colleges have appointed a Tobacco Free Brigade, which slaps a fine of Rs 200 on offenders
* Other colleges have been asked to appoint National Service Scheme volunteers as nodal officers.