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Glare on puff in public

Passive smokers of East Singhbhum, you may finally breathe easy.

After over a decade of the Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act (COTPA), 2003, coming into force in the country, the district administration has woken up to the need of its strict implementation.

From March 10, people found smoking in public places, vendors selling tobacco products within 100 yards of any educational institution and categorical hoardings and ads will be seriously dealt with under provisions of the Act.

Deputy commissioner Amitabh Kaushal, who issued the directive on Wednesday as a part of a tobacco control drive, said raid teams had been formed at district, subdivision and block levels.

“Our objective is to make Jamshedpur a smoke-free city (along with Dhanbad) as announced by the health department this year. From next week, people will see change. I will monitor working of the teams and keep tabs on their reports,” said Kaushal, also the chairman of the district tobacco control programme.

ADM (law and order) B.K. Munda has been made nodal officer for the raids while civil surgeon L.B.P. Singh will be a member-secretary.

“The teams will implement the Act at district-level, in Ghatshila and Dhalbhum subdivisions and 11 blocks,” said special officer rationing Anil Kumar Rai.

He pointed out that Section 4 of the Act prohibited smoking in all public places. Violations will invite a fine up to Rs 200. Public places will have mandatory no-smoking signs in prescribed size and format.

Schools and colleges, hospitals, restaurants, cinemas and administrative offices are on the list of public places.

Section 5 of COTPA prohibits all forms of tobacco ads and any such hoarding will be pulled down by the teams with help from local urban bodies.

Section 6 prohibits sale of tobacco products to minors and within 100 yards of any educational institution.

Sound decision

In another development, the district administration has also decided to crack down on blaring loudspeakers to enforce the Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules 2000 in letter and spirit.

The SDOs of Dhalbhum and Ghatshila have been made implementing officers.

From Thursday, any complaint against use of loudspeakers or public address systems without written permission from SDOs will be liable to prosecution and seizure by the district administration. Loudspeakers cannot be used between 10pm and 6am.

The noise at the boundary of any public place, where loudspeakers are being used, must not be more than 10 decibels of the ambient noise standards specified for that area.