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Act tough against tobacco sales in restricted zones: DC

Mysore/Mysuru: Deputy Commissioner (DC) Dr. K.V.  Rajendra has instructed the officers of Health and Family Welfare Department to pull up their socks and act tough by checking the sales of tobacco products within 100 metres radius of schools, colleges and hospitals. The DC also offered to recommend the names of best performing officers for Sarvottama Seva Prashasti (award) conferred every year on best officers in each Departments.

Chairing the tri-monthly progress review meeting of District Tobacco Control Cell at Zilla Panchayat auditorium here yesterday, the DC questioned the officers, whether it has come to their notice, the sales of beedi, cigarette and other tobacco products in a blatant manner near educational institutions and hospitals and the stalls at KSRTC Bus Stands at various places in the district including Mysuru City, Taluk and Hobli Centres.

As per Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA), selling of beedi, cigarette and other tobacco products within 100 metres radius of restricted areas is a clear violation of law. Hence frequent drives should be conducted and cases should be booked, besides closing such shops,DC Dr. Rajendra said.

“Like we take care of our health, we should care for public health too, by using power so that tobacco products are not accessible to students and patients. The officers of other departments should coordinate with Health and Family Welfare Department and conduct raids and effectively implement COTPA,” he said.

The officers of Health and Family Welfare Department told the DC, “We have conducted raids and inspected all the 65 wards in Mysuru City Corporation (MCC) limits. A total of 14 hookah bars have been closed so far and some among them have even moved Court against local body arguing that COTPA is not applicable to them.”

 Following this, the Deputy Commissioner directed the officers to form teams and conduct raids and book the cases in case of any violations and close the shops. 

“Those who act swiftly will be recommended for Sarvottama Award. Be honest in job, as it is a serious issue and should work with a feeling that even others health is also like ours,” the DC said.

District Health Officer (DHO) Dr. K.H. Prasad, who too spoke  said “We have been keeping a tab on advertisements promoting consumption of cigarette and tobacco products. Under Section-4, 1,218 cases have been booked in the district and a total of Rs. 1,34,820 fine has been collected from the offenders for selling tobacco products in public places. Under Section 6 ‘A’ , 482 cases were booked and Rs.  52,300 fine has been collected, while under Section 6 ‘B’, 35 cases were booked and Rs 4,100 fine was collected. Besides, 48 raids were conducted from April 2022 to Dec.2022 and 1,735 cases were booked, with a total of Rs. 1,91,220 fine collected till date.”

 Deputy Commissioner Dr. K. V. Rajendra also directed the subordinate officers to serve a show-cause notice on the officers who skipped the meeting and submit action taken report. Disciplinary action will be initiated against the officers for laxity, warned DC.

Deputy Commissioner Dr. Rajendra also directed the officers to create awareness against consumption of beedi, cigarette and other tobacco products and its harmful effects on health to the public.

“COTPA should be extensively publicised and ensure that warning boards are displayed at every shops,” he added.

Police, Education, Health and Family Welfare Department, Zilla Panchayat, Mysuru City Corporation and Panchayat Development Officers (PDOs) of Gram Panchayats should also create awareness against the use of tobacco products, the DC said.

Deputy Director of Public Instruction (DDPI) Ramachandra Raje Urs, Senior Health Officer of Mysuru City Corporation (MCC) Dr. D.G. Nagaraj and district level officers of various departments attended the meeting.

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