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Govt may reconsider tobacco sale on Navy ships

Govt may reconsider  tobacco sale on Navy ships
In the midst of 11 incidents in last 22 months on Navy vessels and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pledge to contain the tobacco menace in the country, the government is now mulling reconsidering sale of tobacco products authorized for serving officials “on board” naval ships.

Earlier, a reference has been received from former health minister Dr. Harsha Vardhan in this regard and same has been sent to services for their views. Then it was clarified that in Navy - the sea going ships are authorized to sell duty free goods including tobacco products as per International Regulations as applicable to International flights and merchant ships.

It was learnt that the tobacco products are sold in limited quantity only to the authorized personnel serving on board naval ships. But now with the government promoting yoga, Ayurveda and committed to check tobacco consumption in the country, Modi  may want to reconsider the provision of selling such products on vessels.

Sources said, smoking on board might led to accidents and the “reconsideration of the provision” is thought as a safety and security measure on vessels. A review committee on safety observed that since August 2013, 11 incidents of fire and accidents took place and at least 20 people have been killed so far.

Even today on “World No Tobacco Day” Modi took to Twitter to share his views on tobacco consumption. “World No Tobacco Day reminds us of the harms associated with tobacco consumption and a day to reaffirm our commitment to reduce this menace. The @WHO’s focus on stopping illicit trade of tobacco products is a laudatory effort that will help in minimising tobacco consumption.”

This is not for the first time when Modi expressed his views on the tobacco issue. At the National Executive meet at Bengaluru in April PM gave a stern message and asked the parliamentary committees not include members who could have a conflict of interest in studying and submitting report on the ill effects of tobacco. Even union Health Minister JP Nadda was heard saying that he is committed to end this menace in India.

Naval mishaps
August 14, 2013: Eighteen crew members on board, including three officers and 15 sailors, were killed when blasts ripped through the torpedo compartment of the INS Sindhurakshak while the submarine was berthed in Mumbai harbour

September 2013: Fire broke out near officer’s mess of the aircraft carrier off the Mumbai coast on INS Viraat. No casualties were reported

December 4, 2013: INS Konkan – a minesweeper of the Eastern Naval 
Command, the vessel caught fire at the naval dockyard at Visakhapatnam while undergoing repairs
Sujit Nath

Sujit Nath

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