LUDHIANA The district health department has planned to crack down on those violating the norms pertaining to the sale of tobacco in Ludhiana after principal secretary for health and family welfare department, Vini Mahajan, asked the health authorities to put a clamp on violators.Mahajan in a video conferencing recently with health officials, including district civil surgeon Dr Rajiv Bhalla, said that no leniency should be shown against the violators and must be dealt with an iron hand.“Smoking in public is rampant in Ludhiana with many people not adhering to the norms. However, now anyone found smoking in public places will be dealt with severely and fines will be imposed on them. From Rs 50-100 could be imposed on the violators,” Dr Rajiv Bhalla said.He said that action against any shop selling tobacco products in the vicinity of the school would also be taken.The orders of the senior state functionary have forced the district health authorities to work on a policy wherein they have planned to heavily penalise those violating the norms of the sale of tobacco.For the last two weeks, the health department has been able to recover of Rs 13,000 as challans slapped against violations under Tobacco Control Act. These fines were imposed in different parts of the district.“Ludhiana is already a polluted city and people add to it by smoking. Let us try to solve the problem of pollution a bit by not smoking in public places and not play with the health of others,” said Dr Bhalla.The health department will also act against those selling flavoured tobacco. Sale of hookah and e-cigarettes will also be on the radar of health authorities.Dr Mohinder Singh, assistant civil surgeon and nodal officer for tobacco control in the district, said that all the shops where hoardings highlighting tobacco products are installed will be inspected and removed. He said warning regarding the sale of tobacco to those below 18 years of age should also be installed at tobacco shops.Dr Mohinder said it is a crime to sell tobacco products within 100 yards of an educational or religious institution.The health department had recently raided shops of tobacco vendors and asked them to remove advertisements highlighting different tobacco products at their shops. Raids in different parts of the city were headed by consultant Tobacco Control Act Dr Rupinder Kaur and divisional co-coordinator Harpreet Singh.