New Delhi: The Delhi government today issued challans to several educational institutions for allegedly not following rules under the Tobacco Control Act, and collected a fine amount of Rs 82,000 from south-west district alone.
The state and district tobacco control cells across Delhi had carried out intensive awareness and enforcement drive, mainly focusing on universities, colleges and schools, on the occasion of 'Dry Day For Tobacco Drive'.
"We have been communicating to various educational institutes, including schools (private, government and NGO- run), universities and colleges for nearly last one-and-a-half years for compliance of tobacco control laws like display of tobacco-free zone boards, no-smoking signages, identification of nodal officer, constitution of tobacco-free committee and ensuring tobacco-free status in the premises," S K Arora, Additional Director (Health), Government of Delhi, said.
"Despite that, during the drive, violations were observed under Section 4 (ban on related to smoking in public places) of the COTPA and challans worth Rs 82,000 were issued in south-west district alone. In other places also challans were issued to educational institutes," he added.
Apart from the enforcement drive, teachers and students of universities and colleges across Delhi were sensitized on tobacco-related issues.
"The ban on sale, purchase and even storage of all forms of chewable tobacco, including gutkha, khaini and zarda, was already notified in Delhi but multiple petitions were filed in the court against the notification.
"Due to pending decision of the court, we have not been able to implement this ban which is very much in public interest. But we are hoping for a positive response from the High Court which is hearing this case tomorrow," Arora said.
Delhi government has been observing 'Dry Day for tobacco' on last day of each month since 2013 as a part of which enforcement and awareness drives are conducted and an appeal is made to tobacco vendors to close their shops voluntarily.
Also, appeals are made to general public not to use any tobacco products.