A smoke-free Ludhiana is still a distant dream. Neither residents care not to smoke at public places nor law-enforcing agencies are serious in taking the violators to task.
When this correspondent visited the railway station on Tuesday, a girl was seen smoking right in the presence of police personnel. The cops were present at the railway station for checking in view of the Independence Day. When some shutterbugs pointed out that the girl was smoking outside platform no. 1, Government Railway Police (GRP) inspector Inderjeet Singh sent a lady cop to stop her from smoking or fine her. The lady cop went to the girl, who apparently had come from some other city, and it took nearly two-three minutes for her to convince the girl that smoking at public places was banned. The girl finally threw the cigarette when she was warned that she could be fined `500 otherwise. But she lit the cigarette again as soon she boarded a cab.
Inspector Inderjeet Singh said, "We are not liberal towards smokers at railway station. But it's always better to first counsel the violators instead of challaning them directly. "In this case also, I directed the lady cop to counsel the girl and made her aware about the rules and also the side effects of smoking. The girl apologised and promised not to smoke again at a public place," he said.
It is pertinent to mention that Ludhiana is in the waiting list to be declared as smoke-free city of Punjab. Punjab has declared 17 districts as smoke free and the Ludhiana health department is trying hard to guide people not to smoke at public places through posters and by holding meetings.