Thursday, February 9, 2012

No tobacco shops near schools

The authorities in Srinagar have ordered shutting down of all shops selling cigarettes and tobacco products near schools and have declared schools of the district as no smoking zones.

The Deputy Commissioner Srinagar, Baseer Ahmed Khan directed the Chief Education Officer, Srinagar to ensure that 'no-smoking' signs were put up at all schools, both Government and private, and tobacco vendors within a 100-yard radius were removed.

The order DCS/PS-Misc/11/3875-76 has made it clear that smoking is prohibited at public places under COTPA (Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products Act) Act, 2003. A copy of the order has also been sent to Divisional Commissioner Kashmir's office so that it is followed in letter and spirit and action is taken against the violators.

Through the order the DC Srinagar has further directed the Police and Drug and Food Control Organization to take action against shops selling tobacco and tobacco products within 100 yards of the educational institutions.

It would be in place to mention here that the district administration in collaboration with Police and Drug and Food Control Organization has been in the past taking action against the persons involved in sale of tobacco and tobacco products in the vicinity of public utilities including hospitals and schools.

As part of the anti-tobacco drive cigarette packs were seized by the administration last month and destroyed in presence of the responsible citizens of the Srinagar district. The administration has also penalized civilians including some Government officials for smoking at public places.

Budgam district in the Kashmir valley has already become the first 'Smoke Free' district of the state at public places. The formal announcement in this respect was made during the Republic Day function held recently at the Sports Stadium, Budgam.

Deputy Commissioner, Kupwara Mohammed Shafi has also of late taken some initiatives in the district by which it is expected that this district too would become 'Smoke Free' very soon. In this frontier district action has also been taken against the violators of law and they have been penalized for their act of smoking at public places.

Meanwhile, the Jammu and Kashmir chapter of Voluntary Health Association of India (JKVHA) has welcomed the DC Srinagar order.

Ali Mohammad Mir, Executive Director, JKVHA conveyed his support to the order assuring that his organization and volunteers would assist the district administration in making the public places in Srinagar tobacco-free. Mir said that steps like these would help a lot in making Srinagar and subsequently the other places of the State as 'Smoke Free'.

He also conveyed his appreciation to Mohammad Azim Tuman, chairman House Boat Owners Association, who has volunteered to remove all ash trays from houseboats so that all the houseboats are declared smoking free zones.

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