Special drives to ensure district attain COTPA compliance soon
Belagavi district, which has been in the forefront in safeguarding the public health, has been active in taking necessary measures in tobacco control as well. Enforcement drives conducted by the district police in the last few months are evident for this. Now, the district administration with the active participation of cops, is conducting special drives to strictly implement the provisions under the Cigarette and other Tobacco Products Control Act (COTPA) – 2003.
Mr. Anupam Agrawal, DCP (Law and Order), Belagavi Commissionerate, who led one such drive on today said district police have already booked 12,003 cases and collected Rs. 13,73,655 as fine since about a year. “Several enforcement initiatives have also been taken in the last few months. Now, the aim is to make Belagavi district COTPA compliant within next 15 days and we are confident of achieving the same,” he added.
Mr. Agrawal accompanied by ACP Mr. Hulasgund & other officers visited Kolapur circle, Bogar wase road, Camp area and Khade bazar and other parts of city to see into that the COTPA provisions are put in place. The team removed several illegal advertisement boards put in shops, officials penalized shopkeepers for violations and also warned commercial establishments to install warning boards as per COTPA.
Belagavi police commissioner Mr. Ravi S said, similar drives will be undertaken at all police station limits during the next 15 days. “We are hopeful of attaining the COTPA compliance status by the mid-week of April month,” he added.
Part of the enforcement drives, the police officials along with the district administration machinery will be looking into norms such as
– ensuring ban on smoking in public places including bus stand, parks, hotels and restaurants, bakery, shops, cinema halls, government and private office premises as it is a punishable offence with a penalty up to Rs 200. Also, to ensure that related warning signage are installed at these places.
– Other norms include prohibition of direct and indirect advertisement. Which means police will be taking action to remove unauthorized tobacco advertisements and penalize.
– Another norm is to ensure complete prohibition of sale of tobacco products near 100 yards of education institutions. Display of related directive is a must and strict action will be initiated if there are violations. If there are any violations found in this regard, the same should be brought to the notice of jurisdictional police so that necessary action can be taken to set things right.
– Sale of tobacco products without statutory pictorial warnings is also a punishable offense. Cops will take suitable action against such violations as well.