Puffing in public to attract Rs 200 fine: Anbumani

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Chennai, Sep 21 (UNI) Come October two, Gandhi Jayanthi Day, smoking in public places would be banned across the country and those violating would have to shell out a fine of Rs 200.

The ban on smoking in public places would come into force from October two and all the States should strictly enforce it, Union Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss told newspersons here today, on the sidelines of a function.

He said the ban would be enforced throughout India and sought the cooperation of all the States in this regard.

Dr Anbumani said those violating the ban would be levied a fine of Rs 200 and all officers in the rank of SIs, school principals, NGOs and Rotarians were empowered to collect fines and issue challans.

''NGOs and Rotarians will be categorised accordingly to issue challans and collect fines,'' he added.

Dr Anbumani said all restaurants having more than 30 seats should set up a smoker's zone exclusively for them.

''These restaurants should have a separate room for smokers where no food, eatables or water should be served,'' he said.

On reports in a section of the press that parks were exempted from smoking, he said a firm ''no.'' ''It's not so. The reports are incorrect. Parks are not exempted.

Smoking is also banned in parks,'' he stressed.

He said India was a signatory to a WHO programme for tobacco growers and in future ''we will try to ban all sorts of tobacco products.'' UNI GV SK NS1646

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