Go to cops against tobacco sellers, state tells principals
Two months after the home department asked school principals to crack down on shops selling tobacco products in their vicinity, the school education department has asked principals to get such shops to down shutters and file police complaints against them.
The department has, in a government resolution issued on February 22, directed all schools to ensure that there are no shops selling tobacco, cigarettes or gutkha within a 100-metre distance from the institute.
The Centre had laid down guidelines to implement the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act, 2003, last year, asking all state governments to ensure the implementation of the Act. The act prohibits sale of tobacco and advertisements of such products within a 100-metre distance from schools.
The home department had issued orders in December, making school authorities aware that principals and librarians can fine such tobacco sellers Rs300 for operating close to the institutes, but most school authorities are not keen on taking on these shop keepers.
The school education department has now asked school authorities to prominently display boards stating that selling such products is illegal and a punishable offence. It has also asked principals to register complaints with the nearest police station and forward this information to the district collectors, who have been appointed as the nodal authorities to implement the law.
“The state has been very lax about implementing this law. This is also because school authorities are wary of fining such individuals,” a bureaucrat said. The state’s food and drug administration department had initiated a campaign in schools and colleges to make students aware of the ill effects of tobacco.