Chandigarh, August 5
Smokers, it seems, now have nowhere to hide. The Chandigarh administration is getting more pairs of eyes to track them. Henceforth, violators of anti-smoking rules will have to not only watch out for police personnel and food inspectors, but also members of the Tobacco Control Cell.

The cell stands empowered to act in case of breach of rules. Anyone can make a complaint to the cell, which then can take notice without having to depend on a second agency.

The decision was long pending as it was meant to be part of the initial plan to make the city smoke-free. It was deferred due to some law points. The nod came two days ago and the administration is likely to issue a notification tomorrow. Powers to the cell have been granted under Section 25 of the Cigarette and other Tobacco Products Act, 2003.

The move guarantees autonomy to the cell, set up on the directions of the Centre. “The cell will entertain complaints directly, report these and keep a watch on hotels, restaurants and people.

The cell can issue direct notices to violators, ask them to appear before it and refer them to the compounding authority - the police and food inspectors,” said a source.

Hemant Goswami, one of the five non-official members of the cell which has eight official members, said: “The administration’s decision will add strength to the cell.”

The cell will also coordinate, superintend and direct all tobacco control-related activities in Chandigarh on a day-to-day basis.

Soon, it will have its own office at Government Multi-Specialty Hospital, Sector 16.

Source: Aditi Tandon Tribune News Service