MUSSOORIE, Jan 20
Public smoking in Mussoorie could now lead one to cough upto Rs 200 fine.
In a bid to make the hill town “smoke free”, the National Tobacco Control Programme is seeing officials crack the whip on public smokers as well as shopkeeper selling cigarettes without the mandatory pictorial warning.
In fact five days after the sudden announcement, the officials have already collected a fine of Rs 24,000.
Archana Uniyal, Zonal officer, National tobacco control programme, told eNewsDesk.”We don’t want to impose fines. What we really want to do is make people aware of the ill effect of smoking. The fine then is supposed to be a deterrent to people smoking in public and shopkeepers selling cigarettes irresponsibly.”
Interestingly some shopkeepers selling cigarettes are upset with Mussoorie being singled out to be “smoke free”.
Meanwhile, local residents feel that this ban has remained a mere rhetoric and that is needs to be translated into action.
“Twelve years ago it was announced that Mussoorie will be polythene free but we see it being used openly. Three years back, the then Health Minister had announced in a big function in a school that Mussoorie will become the first ‘Smoke free’ town but we see people smoking here. How good are announcements if they don’t come with the right push and intentions?” says a local trader.
What strikes as odd is also the fact that there are only four officials involved in the project at the ground level. This could then make the entire announcement fall on the face.
Officials however are hoping otherwise. Like Uniyal says “Thanks to the size of the town and helpful stakeholders we hope the ban will be a success.”
In fact a step in this direction was a participatory training programme organized for officials, doctors and shopkeepers in Municipal council, Mussoorie under National Health Mission.
How much people took back from the programme of course only time will tell!