Pubs feel no need to designate smoking zones

restaurants, pubs and bars are yet to get no-objection certificates from the BBMP

Smoking zones will check passive smoking. dh photo

Restaurants, pubs and bars are yet to get no-objection certificates from the BBMP, almost a year after an order mandated them to do so.

One of the ideas of the NOC is to make restaurants, bars and pubs designate a smoking area. The issue was raised at a meeting of the committee on tobacco cessation last week.

“The rules were made in September 2018 for business owners to apply for NOC. The BBMP has to make sure all norms are met. It was understood that the committee to examine the issue has itself miscommunicated with a few hotels,” said a senior official. A few hotels were told they could continue since there was no mechanism to upload the details online.

A source said the idea of the NOC was to minimise smoking in public areas. “Letting (the businesses) continue to function is a violation of consumer rights since passive smoking is harmful,” the source added.

The fact that no restaurant, pub or bar acquired NOC surfaced when the state government sought a report.

BBMP officer in charge of the tobacco control programme Dr Savita said the civic body received only five applications for NOC so far. None of them fulfilled the requirement to get the certificate. The excise department also issued an order in March asking the businesses to apply for NOC.

“After the excise department order, we’ve been getting a lot of enquiries,” Dr Savita said. She placed the onus for the mess on the jurisdictional officers. “There’s one of them in each constituency and they should do the inspection.”

Curiously, Deepak Batavia, president, Church Street Traders’ Association, said that the restaurant owners were not aware that they should acquire NOC from the civic body.

“The few of them who were aware found hurdles. Considering the footfall on the restaurants in Church Street, designating space for smoking would hit the revenue. The BBMP should continuously talk to restaurants and pubs,” Batavia said.

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