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Crackdown on smoking begins

Bangalore Bureau

BANGALORE: It was almost smooth sailing with regard to the smoking ban in Bangalore on the first day of its implementation on Thursday as it was Gandhi Jayanti and most of the offices remained closed.

Pubs, restaurants and other establishments are fully prepared to enforce the ban. It is already in force by default in all offices in the city that have centralised air-conditioning system.

Many restaurants and hotels such as Koshy’s and Java City, which allowed smoking on their premises earlier, displayed no-smoking boards on Thursday. In a restaurant on Church Street, a customer who had lit a cigarette was asked by the security staff to stub it before he entered the dining area.

“We are adhering to the instructions, and smoking has been banned in the enclosed area. Signboards issuing warning against smoking have been put up,” said Rakhee Lalwani, director-public relations of Taj Group of Hotels. She said that smoking was allowed only in open spaces.

Business was as usual at petty shops selling cigarettes. However, a few of them displayed newspaper clippings on the smoking ban. “Though selling cigarettes is a part of our business, it is also our duty to inform the public about the ban,” said a woman vending cigarettes on North Road in Basavangudi.

Many private organisations have been spreading awareness about the ban for the past few weeks. Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa has said that the Government will enforce the ban strictly. Madan Gopal, Principal Secretary, Health and Family Welfare, said that the ban would be implemented by the Health Department in association with the civic agencies and the police.

M.R. Pujar, Additional Commissioner of Police (Law and Order), said that the police were expecting the order copy or other instructions from the Union Government.

Initiating action against those who smoked at public places was not a new thing for the department, he said. “Earlier, we used to book cases against those who smoked at cinemas and bus stations. We have booked thousands of such cases under the Karnataka Police Act,” he said.

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