KL NEWS NETWORK
To create understanding and awareness about the ill effects of tobacco use, Voluntary Health Association of India (VHAI) initiated a week long anti tobacco drive in collaboration with various tourism players in Srinagar.
The anti-tobacco drive initiated from December 31st, 2015 will continue till the end of this week with various tourism players and tourist police playing a vital part in the entire week long drive, a VHAI spokesman said here.
He said that various tourism players including the Kashmir House Boat Owners Association (KHOBA)-consisting of house boat owners from Dal, Nigeen, Chinarbagh, Chaunth Kul and Jehlum River with a reach of around 960 houseboats were roped in to be part of this campaign.
Besides, Kashmir Shikara and Taxi owners Association based around Dal Lake with a reach of around 1900 Shikaras and Kashmir Hotel and Restaurants Association (KHARA) with around 1200 reach across Kashmir are playing a key role to make this drive a success.
Pertinently, the associations provided ‘No Smoking’ stickers to their members to be displayed at prominent places in their premises. Further booklets on COTPA, 2003 developed by VHAI were also shared with Unit Managers. Hoardings displaying ‘No Smoking’ signages were also distributed which will be put up at all the Ghats of Dal Lake.
During the week long drive the Associations imparted unit to unit awareness to their members against the use of tobacco in their premises and to stop promoting use of tobacco products through signages and hoardings, the spokesman added.
He said that various ‘Anti-Tobacco Drive Squads’ were formulated which comprised of two members from each Association, a VHAI member, a photo journalist and a team of tourism police.
A team headed by Station House Officer (SHO), Tourist Reception Centre (TRC), Suhail Ahmad also visited various hotels, restaurants and house boats and issued challans on the spot to more than a dozen offenders. Awareness on COTPA Tobacco Control Act 2003 was also provided to all these tourism associations, the spokesman added.
General Secretary KHOBA, Abdul Rashid Kaloo, while appreciating the efforts of VHAI termed it as a good initiative.
“Bringing different players from tourism sector together is a great step, together it’s easy for us to fight against this menace of smoking which is killing our future generations and for that VHIA deserves all the credit,” he said.
“Going to running units ourselves will prove very effective, but same can’t be assured about the units where we will be sending this material,” he said.
He advised roping in student volunteers for achieving a wider reach so that such activities prove beneficial in future also.
Secretary General KHARA, Aadil Khan also hailed the efforts of other associations, police and VHAI and assured that campaign will not remain confined to Srinagar city but will be spread to entire valley. He added that such campaigns should be made more frequent to make them effective.
Chairman Shikara and Taxi owners Association, Haji Wali Mohammed, also hailed the move and suggested to spread awareness among tourists through printed material.