Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Fresh air at the bus station

Fresh air at the bus station
New Indian Express

BANGALORE: It is five years since the Supreme Court banned smoking in public places. The historic order has turned the Kempegowda Bus Station (KBS) a real smoke-free zone.

Encouraged by the success, the BMTC is now all set to strictly implement the ban in Shivajinagar and Shanthinagar bus stations also. “Even the BMTC staff will be not allowed to smoke while on duty,” BMTC chief traffic manager Dastagir Sherriff told this website’s newspaper.

Despite the ban, smoking in other public places largely goes unchecked. Thanks to the strict implementation of ‘No Smoking’ rule and heavy fines, commuters, especially non-smokers, breathe easy at Majestic.

According to the BMTC assistant traffic manager Nagaraj, the smoking ban is being strictly implemented in Majestic since November 1, 2005. Those found defying the ban are slapped fines of up to Rs 500.

According to officials at KSRTC outpost station, at least 10 policemen are present at the BMTC and KSRTC bus station at any given time. They are also on a constant lookout for smokers, and co-ordinate with BMTC and KSRTC staff in checking the menace. Fines have been imposed in 650 cases ever since the ban was imposed.

Posters and boards have been displayed to caution people against smoking in public places at the bus stand and inside buses. “We are also warning people through the public address system every five to 10 minutes. The number of commuters exceed six lakh every day”, he said.

It was a landmark order by Kerala High Court on Feb 12, 1999 that first banned smoking in public places. The Supreme Court banned smoking in public places on November 2, 2001 following which smoking has remained banned in public places through out the nation. Will all public places follow the example set by BMTC and fight air pollution?


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