Day 1: Drive selective

Chandigarh July 15
Smoking at public places, particularly markets, inhabited by migrant labourers continued, despite the ban which came into effect in the Union Territory today. However places of tourist interest like the Sukhna Lake, Rock Garden and Sector 17 plaza, remained clear of smokers.

According to the police, at least 29 challans were issued. Raids continued till late in the night.

The Chandigarh administration, with the implementation of the Cigarette and Other Tobacco Act 2003, has declared the city smoke-free and constituted a cell under the chairmanship of home-cum-health secretary.

On the first day of the ban today, vendors as well as customers could be seen smoking in the open among crowds at the vegetable market in Sector 26.Two persons, claiming to be government employees, smoking while seated on their scooter near a cigarette vendor threw away the cigarettes when asked by the Tribune team whether they knew about the ban. “We did not know about such a ban in the city,” they said, leaving the spot in a hurry.

A migrant labourer, Shiv Kumar, from Saharsa, Bihar, said he knew about the ban but expressed his inability to resist the “temptation.”

Similarly, rickshaw-puller Nafis Ahmad standing in front of shops in Sector 22, said policemen had asked them not to smoke in the market during rush hours. “What else can a poor man can enjoy except smoking after hard work throughout the day on roads,” he added, with a sigh.“During the last five days, my sales have dipped by 25 per cent,” rued cigarette-seller Amit, also of Sector 22.

No one was seen smoking at the Sukhna and the Rock Garden, even as thousands thronged the spots, it being a holiday.

Source: Arun Sharma Tribune News Service