The Srinagar administration Tuesday launched a city-widecrackdown on illegal sale of cigarettes among other tobacco products holdingsimultaneous inspections of markets in various areas.
The inspections were held in the wake of growing concernsabout increasing prevalence of substance abuse in Srinagar and to verifyadherence to the Cigarettes & Other Tobacco Products Act or COTPA 2003which prohibits advertisement of and provides for regulation of trade andcommerce in production and distribution of cigarettes and other tobaccoproducts.
Large number of stores and vendors situated at differentplaces were found selling cigarettes without the mandatory pictorial warningson packets thereof, said a spokesman.
He said huge cache of such cigarettes was also seized fromvarious markets during the inspections. Some 50 stores and vendors includingthose found selling cigarettes among other tobacco products close to schoolsamong other educational institutions in violations of COTPA and violating otherprovisions thereof were booked with several of them sealed during theinspections.
It is notable that the data suggests that the annual amountspent on tobacco consumption in Srinagar is a staggering 131 crore which is thehighest in the State. This among other forms of substance abuse involving bothgenders is growing into a serious cause of concern in the district.
Deputy Commissioner Srinagar Dr Shahid Iqbal Choudhary whohas issued strict instructions to concerned officers to crackdown on violatorsand offenders said violations of COTPA account for serious offences and will bedealt with in the context of public safety.
Dr Shahid assured of sustained efforts to check substanceabuse in Srinagar but also urged the general public and parents in particularto do its bit emphasising their important role therein and to assist theadministration in its efforts to curb prevalence thereof.
Last month a district level coordination committeecomprising 15 members from different departments and organisations wasconstituted in the district for the implementation of COTPA.
Different members of the committee have been assigned differentroles and responsibilities for ensuring effective and functional application oftobacco control in the district.