Darjeeling is now a smoking free district. The state government has banned smoking in public places at Darjeeling district.
The government has also barred the selling of cigarettes or any other tobacco products to a minor. If any such incident takes place in the district in the near future, the police will take stringent action against the offenders, a state secretariat source said.
The district administration has confirmed that the 80 per cent area of the district, including four sub divisions has become smoking free. According to a state secretariat source, the decision of the ban was taken in the hill district as per Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA).
District Magistrate Anurag Srivastava said that the administration has started its implementation. Many raids were conducted and several people were detained by the police.
"The ban on smoking in public places was there in Darjeeling, but the implementation was not done properly. Now on the directive from the West Bengal Health department, the district administration started implementing the ban in the district," the DM said.
The Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003 is a Parliament of India act, which was enacted in 2003 to prohibit advertisement of such things, provide for the regulation of trade and commerce for tobacco products, and production, supply and distribution of cigarettes and other tobacco products across the country.
This Act was enacted by the Parliament to give effect to the resolution passed by the 39th World Health Assembly, urging the member states to implement measures to provide non-smokers protection from instinctive exposure to tobacco smoke.
In Darjeeling, the ban will also be implemented on the tourists travelling there in the hill stations as well as the local people. The tour operators are already been informed about the rules.
"If we find anybody smoking in public places, he/she will be fined Rs 200. We will not allow the traders to sell tobacco-related products like cigarettes to minors below 18 years," the DM added.
On the Republic Day on Thursday, the DM received an acknowledgement paper in this matter given by the local residential association at Mall. Srivastava signed that letter on behalf of the district administration.