Govt departments to upload info on COTPA violations

Govt departments to upload info on COTPA violations

Most government departments will soon be asked to upload updated information regarding the cases of violation of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA) on their respective websites, according to officials from the Health Department.

According to the officials from the National Tobacco Control Programme (NTCP), the online display of the number of violations of the Act and the fine collected in the department’s jurisdiction is an attempt to instill a sense of responsibility.

The Department of Health and Family Welfare, Department of Education, Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation, Home Department, Urban Development Department will be asked to update their websites in this regard.

“This will not only decentralise the responsibilities of the Health department but will also ensure that other departments also shoulder the responsibility,” said a senior official from the department of Health and Family Welfare. This will be started on a pilot basis and departments will be asked to update data by the end of March, said the official.

Dr Vishal, senior member, Institute of Public Health, who lauded the initiative said, “It is a great step the government has considered, as all departments will be held accountable. Be it with any law, there is a need for shouldering responsibility, reporting violations and reviewing the same for effective implementation.”

From January to October 2014, as many as 91,213 cases have been booked and Rs 1.20 crore has been collected as fine, across the State.

About 87,831 cases have been booked under Section 4 of the Act alone. Section 4 of the COTPA Act states that “No person shall smoke in any public place: Provided in a hotel with thirty rooms or a restaurant with a seating capacity of thirty persons or more and in airports a separate provision for smoking area may be made.”

Most of the other violations fall under Section 6(A) and Section 6(B) that refer to the sale of tobacco products to minors and also selling tobacco within 100 yards of any educational institution.

The number of cases has gone up considerably as compared to 2013 when just 47,84,230 cases were booked. NTCP representatives in the State said besides a stringent vigil, a dedicated fine book for the COTPA might have led to the increase in the number by such huge margins.
DH News Service