BMC says no one lit up in public in last 2 years
Despite being armed with a stringent anti-smoking law which bans lighting up in public places, the civic body is refusing to kick the butt - not a single person has been fined for violating the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA), 2004, in the last two years. Priyanka Vora reports.mumbai Updated: Jun 01, 2013 01:02 IST
Despite being armed with a stringent anti-smoking law which bans lighting up in public places, the civic body is refusing to kick the butt - not a single person has been fined for violating the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA), 2004, in the last two years.
While officials from the civic body's health department, which has been charged with levying the fines, insist non-collection means better compliance of the law, non-profits working for tobacco control think otherwise.
"There are many restaurants which are violating COTPA. For instance, most coffee shops have open smoking areas through which every customer has to pass to enter the air-conditioned seating. This is a clear violation of the act which attracts penalty," said Devika Chadha, program director of Salaam Bombay Foundation.
She added that a few eateries and pubs have also pulled down the mandatory no-smoking board.
The civic body, Food and Drug Administration and the police department are the enforcing authorities as per the central government
Unlike the civic body, however, FDA officials have collected Rs7 lakh fine across the state from those found smoking in public places.
A senior official from the FDA said, "When there are three agencies which are expected to implement the law, it should be more effective."
"While most restaurants follow the rule, smoking in gardens, auto rickshaws, taxis, bus stands usually go unchecked," admitted a civic official.
"Despite the law disallowing pan-bidi shops around schools and colleges, we see them everywhere. We need the police department to strictly enforce the law. The Karnataka government has included COTPA implementation in monthly crime reports," said Dr PC Gupta, director of Healis- Sekhsaria Institute for Public Health.