Though there is a ban on the sale of intoxicants and tobacco products near educational institutions in the state, yet a distance education centre of Lovely Professional University (LPU) and a liquor and cigarette shop are running from the same building here. The education centre is housed on the first floor and the liquor and cigarette shop on the ground floor.
The sale of tobacco products is prohibited within the radius of 100 yards from educational institutions under the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act, 2003, (COTPA). Section (4) of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (prohibition of advertisement and regulation of trade and commerce, production, supply and distribution) Act, 2003, prohibits smoking and use of tobacco products in a radius of 100 yards near hospitals and educational institutes.
It also states that tobacco products should not be sold to any person less than 18 years of age. But, the rule is being violated here right under the very eyes of the local administration.
The educational centre and the liquor shop are house in the same premises, but beither the authorities in the administration nor the centre officials have raised any objection regarding the liquor shop. Ironically, both the parties defend themselves citing their own reasons.
"We started our institute in August 2012 and the liquor shop opened this year in April. Our institute has a separate entrance, so we don't have any objection to the opening of the liquor shop," said Rajwindra Singh, head of the institute.
The authorities defend claim that this is not an educational institution, rather it is a distance-learning centre where students don't turn up to attend classes. "The institute has said that they don't have any problem and that is why we have not taken any action," said excise commissioner Madan Mohan Singh.
The most surprising fact is that the institute and the liquor and tobacco shops exist within less than half-a-km from the office of the deputy commissioner and the excise commissioner.
The dean of LPU, Jalandhar, was not available for comments.