NAGPUR: It took many years to act for the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) to implement the ban imposed on smoking at public places as the authorities here caught 19 persons on Tuesday. The FDA also penalised six kiosk owners for selling tobacco-related products near restricted areas.
The ban was imposed under the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003, and carries a fine of up to Rs 200.
FDA assistant commissioner RH Rathod told reporters that 12 food inspectors carried out raids at several public places like schools, hotels, restaurants, bars and bus stands.
Rathod said that woman food inspector SR Surkar faced threat when she caught a person for buy marlboro cigarettes near a school in Gaddigodam area. The kiosk owner along with other people tried to prevent Surkar to initiate action. Later, with the help of senior FDA officials, Surkar seized tobacco products worth Rs 3,370. Similar raids were carried out at five places and products worth Rs 10,000 were seized from the offenders. During raids, the authorities caught 19 persons red-handed while smoking at public places and fined Rs 200 each.
Replying to a query, Rathod said that the drive was launched after minister of state for FDA Satej alias Bunty Patil assured to strictly implement the ban on smoking at public places during the winter session of the state legislature at Nagpur.
FDA officials caught two persons for smoking in restricted areas on Monday too when they visited two bars in Sitabuldi and Dharampeth. The same day, the FDA officials had caught 20 persons smoking ‘beedi’ on school premises in the adjoining Bhandara district. Two more were penalised for smoking in Wardha.
Rathod has appealed to the people not to smoke at public places and prevent those selling tobacco products near educational institutions. He said that any government gazzetted officer can initiate action against those caught smoking at public places.
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