Jharkhand drive for door-to-door campaign against smoking

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Ranchi, Nov 2 (UNI) With the anti-tobacco ban hardly yielding any results, the Jharkhand government will soon launch a door-to-door campaign for educating people about the ill-effects of smoking and chewing of tobacco.

As per the action plan, the government hopes to achieve a nearly smoke-free zone in the state capital, to begin with, in two months.

The health department, headed by minister Bhanu Pratap Shahi, held a series of meetings during the past few days in consultation with NGOs concerned to work out effective means to tackle the issue, said senior departmental official here today.

The government took serious note of public disregard for anti-tobacco ban and will now launch door-to-door campaign in all the 55 wards of Ranchi Municipal Corporation (RMC).

The decision was taken after the health, tourism and education departments, along with police and NGOs, had discussions among themselves towards working out a meaningful implementation of the Prohibition of Smoking in Public Place Act, 2008.

The health minister expressed concern that the people were still smoking freely in public places, saying the government would try to address the issue in a phased manner, starting with counselling.

It would be followed by imposing fines on law breakers, the minister said admitting that the people's disregard for the ban was the fallout of the ''alleged'' lax laws and lackadaisical attitude of the implementing authorities.

The people could not be allowed to feel that the ban was ''toothless'', he asserted.

Mayor Rama Khalkho said the shops selling such items within the objectionable distance of educational centres would be demolished.

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