Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Bangalore smokes out the ban?

Bangalore smokes out the ban?

First Published : 27 Oct 2008 12:19:00 PM IST
Last Updated :

BANGALORE: Just a lone offender was caught in Bangalore city, even after more than two weeks since the anti-smoking rule came into force on October 2. Either the city is huffing and puffing in smoking out the smokers or it is just that the city-dwellers have given up the habit of lighting up in public. What looks more likely is the lack of zeal to implement the ban by the authorities concerned.

Strangely enough, while it was just one offender at Canara Club in Malleshwaram, who was fined Rs 200 for smoking in public in the Garden City, cases galore were reported from other metros, with Chennai alone accounting for 110 cases on the very first day of the ban.

New Delhi, where Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss holds his office, too exhibited an exemplary zeal in enforcing the ban on smoking in public places by notching up 141 violators in just two days of the ban.

Though consolidated figures have not been compiled yet, the Mumbai city police department confirmed that 20 cases were booked up to October 13.

Hyderabad too showed that it was serious about the smoking ban by booking 14 cases within three days of the enforcement and on October 14 alone it had booked 20 violators. But, Hyderabad chose to fine Rs 100 on each offender instead of the stipulated fine of Rs 200.

If Bangalore has collected a mere Rs 200 as fine so far from the “sole” violator, Delhi had collected Rs 7,000 in just two days. Neighbouring Tamil Nadu collected Rs 1,00,000 on the opening day itself as fine.

Speaking to this website's newspaper, Joint Director Dr Prakash, (Nodal Officer), State Anti-Tobacco Cell (SATC) says: “The cell has registered one case of violation at Canara Club, Malleswaram. However, we have not received any reports or statistics from police officials or other government organisations till date. Moreover, it is too early to think of the figures as it needs combined efforts of various departments.”

However, the situation only reflects variations in implementation, results and awareness. Even after two weeks of its enforcement, the anti-smoking law is proving to be an eyewash as authorities are not implementing the ban properly.

City police have not yet received the order for issuing challans to violators. B K Singh, DCP, East Division, says: “Till date, the department has not received any order or circular from the government or any other cell to issue challans to the violators.”


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