Sangrur's wait for getting smoke-free status gets longer | punjab | Hindustan Times
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Sangrur's wait for getting smoke-free status gets longer

With the state government declaring three new districts as smoke free, the wait of Sangrur district to attain a tobacco-free and smoke-free status got longer after a special team from the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh, postponed its visit to the district.

punjab Updated: Jun 01, 2013 23:28 IST
Navrajdeep Singh

With the state government declaring three new districts as smoke free, the wait of Sangrur district to attain a tobacco-free and smoke-free status got longer after a special team from the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh, postponed its visit to the district.

On No Tobacco Day on May 31, the state health department declared Nawanshahr, Fatehgarh Sahib and Gurdaspur as smoke-free districts.

The Sangrur administration and the health department were hopeful of finding their name in the list, but the cancellation of the visit by the PGI experts dashed their hopes. The team was likely to visit the district in May to study whether the district met all parameters for attaining the tobacco-free status.

Rupnagar, SAS Nagar, Mansa and Amritsar districts have already been declared as smoke-free districts earlier.

Sources in the health department said that due to paucity of time, the team had visited only the above three districts.

The team is now expected to visit Sangrur this month.

In view of the scheduled visit, the health department had left no stone unturned to get the status on No Tobacco Day on May 31 and had made all arrangements, including ensuring installation of anti-tobacco and no-smoking boards in hotels, restaurants, public departments, bus stands, railway stations and other public places besides at government hospitals, dispensaries and health sub-centres under the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act.

According to information, the health officials have fined around 1,400 people in the district for violating the Tobacco Act till May this year.
In 2012, health officials had issued 12,864 challans to people for violating norms in the district and collected Rs 9.03 lakh.

In 2011, 1,831 people had been fined and Rs 1.54 lakh was collected; while in 2010, Rs 1.79 lakh was collected and 1,848 people were fined.

District health officer Dr Surinder Singla said the experts were now expected to visit the district this month. "The team will have to stay for at least five days to cover the entire district. The newly declared districts were smaller in area and population as compared to Sangrur, so it was easy for the PGI team to cover them before the Anti-Tobacco Day," he said.

The team will conduct random checking in the district besides questioning people regarding implementation of the no-smoking rules at public places. The teams will also visit public offices and other places in the district to see whether proper no-smoking and anti-tobacco signboards were installed.