Early Times Report
Srinagar, Nov 20 : On the instructions of Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, Dr. Asgar Hassan Samoon, a joint anti-tobacco squad, comprising of representatives from Drug & Food Control Organisation, Health Department and Police inspected various places in Srinagar and caught thirty one (31) persons smoking in public places. A fine of Rs. 4,800 was recovered on spot.
During checking one Accounts Officer, Industries Department, Two Naib Tehsildars, one Junior Engineer, R&B posted at Barbarshah, were also fined for smoking in public place. Div Com Kashmir and DC Srinagar have appreciated the joint squad.
Smoking in public places is prohibited under Section 4 of Cigarettes & Other Tobacco Products, Prohibition of Advertisement & Regulation of Trade & Commerce, Production, Supply & Distribution Act 2003 (commonly known as COTPA). Public places, under the Act includes any place to which the public has access, whether as a matter of right or not and all places visited by the general public. It also includes hospitals, restaurants, hotels, public offices including Government, Public, Private, as well as newspaper offices, court buildings, all educational institutions, libraries, public conveyances including buses, taxis, trains etc. and railway stations, bus stops, shopping malls, coffee shops, airport lounges. It is also mandatory that all public places should display sign boards indicating that Smoking in Public places is an Offence.
Under COTPA all Gazetted Officers are authorised to take action against anyone caught smoking in public places and can compound the offence under the Act falling within their premises upto a fine of Rs 200 per offence.
The officers authorized under the act also include Deputy Commissioner, Director Health Services, Sub Divisional Magistates, Tehsildars, SHOs, Food Inspectors, Executive Officers of Municipalities, Principals/Head Masters of Educational Institutions of Colleges/Schools, Medical Supdt/Hospital Administrators. Sarpanches and Panches can also take action against anyone caught smoking in public plac.