Cops to target tourists smoking hookahs, drugs

PANAJI: Tourists sitting in shacks or strolling on the beach and blowing discoutn cigarette store rings of charas, ganja or tobacco had better beware.

North Goa police have initiated a drive in the coastal belt and are booking persons smoking in public places in violation of the provisions of the Indian Tobacco Control Act, 2003, that aims at curbing smoking in public places in order to protect individuals from the hazards of second-hand tobacco smoke.

Police are also cracking down on shacks and restaurants that use the hookah. They have warned shack and restaurant owners that anyone found using a hookah in violation of the provisions of law, would have to pay a fine of ` 1,000 and have the hookah seized.

Pernem police have already seized 16 hookahs, while Calangute police have seized 20 and Anjuna police have seized 12 hookahs.

“Under the garb of smoking the hookah or cigarettes, it is alleged that people are smoking drugs on beaches. This drive is to curb the sale and consumption of drugs in the coastal belt and also to ensure that people don’t violate the law by smoking in public,” SP (North) Arvind Gawas said.

The drive will continue throughout the season and is aimed at curbing open sale and consumption of drugs in the coastal areas. DGP Bhimsen Bassi said, “Our objective is to ensure that the rule of law is preserved. Anybody who violates the law will not go free.”

Police have also directed shacks and restaurants in coastal areas to display “no smoking” boards prominently. “At some places we found that they display the board and yet permit tourists to smoke in the premises. They have even placed ashtrays on the table. We have asked all restaurants and shacks to remove ashtrays from the tables, unless these are placed in smoking zones,” police sources said.

“Also we have asked shack and restaurant owners to advise customers not to smoke in public places. If found smoking they will be fined Rs 100,” police said.

While Anjuna police have booked 20 persons for smoking in public, Calangute police have booked 30 persons and Pernem police have booked 40 persons in coastal areas.

source: The Times of India

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