With Sangrur desperate for the tobacco- and smoke-free status, the district health department has put fire in its effort before inspection.
In the last days of May, a team from the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh, will arrive here to see if the district deserves fulfils all requirements of the title. Already Ropar, SAS Nagar, Mansa and Amritsar district had been declared tobacco- and smoke-free.
On Tuesday, civil surgeon Dr HS Bali told senior medical officers to get their teams working to install anti-tobacco and no-smoking signs in hotels, restaurants, and public offices and places, besides government hospitals, dispensaries and health sub-centres. This is to comply with the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act.
“The medical officials will catch defaulters, impose fine and submit daily reports” said Dr Bali. In 2012, the department caught 12,864 violators and collected about Rs. 9.03 lakh as fine. In the two years before that, the figures were very modest.
The SMOs have orders to ensure that no health official or any other member of the department staff smokes tobacco in public. “The teams will conduct random checking in the district and ask people if the no-smoking rules are implemented at public places,” said Dr Bali. “They will raid public offices and other places to catch smokers and see if the campaign signs are installed.”