KL NEWS NETWORK
In a bid to make Railways in Kashmir a tobacco-free zone, the authorities have come down heavily on the violations of the anti-tobacco laws with police issuing 44 challans and collecting Rs 4000 as fine from the violators this year.
Under section 4 of Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce Production, Supply and Distribution) Act (COTPA) for smoking in trains and at railway stations, police have moved against people for smoking in trains and at railway stations.
In addition to this, the state police made 23,754 challans and collected Rs 21.50 lakh as fine from the people in the state under section 4 of COTPA for smoking in public places during May 2013 to May 2015, a police spokesperson said.
Pertinently, the Police department has incorporated COTPA violations in the monthly crime review for strengthening the public health measure at the district and sub-district level.
The Director General of Police (DGP) is collating the violations for strengthening institutionalization of the mechanism and forwards the details on monthly basis to the Superintendents of Police (SSP’s) of the Districts.
The Police Department is putting the violations of COTPA as one of the agenda points in the monthly crime review of the Station House Officers (SHO’s) at the district level. J&K is the second state after Karnataka, where police department is printing and distributing its own challan books for COTPA enforcement.
The COTPA, enacted in 2003 and applicable to the entire country, was mainly aimed to discourage the consumption of cigarettes and other tobacco products by imposing progressive restrictions on public and to protect non-smokers from second-hand smoke.
“It is heartening to see that railway police in the state is coming forward to protect the health of people by supporting COTPA enforcement,” said Afzal Makhdoomi, J&K Consultant for Tobacco Control, Voluntary Health Association of India (VHAI).
Importantly, the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) India by Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW), Government of India conveys that 26.6% population of Jammu & Kashmir is using tobacco product in one or the other of its form.
Jammu & Kashmir has 12% cigarette smokers, 3.8% bidi smokers and 8.0% smokeless tobacco users with the state fast emerging as the smoking capital of north India. The health hazards due to passive smoking are also more in J&K than elsewhere in the North.