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Spitting, smoking in public banned in West Bengal
M Chhaya in Kolkata | April 01, 2003 17:38 IST
Acts like spitting and smoking in public will fetch offenders in West Bengal heavy fines or imprisonment.
From Tuesday, a government directive came into effect that bans spitting and chewing tobacco in public.
It also prohibits advertisements of tobacco products and their sale to anyone under the age of 18 years.
Sale of tobacco products within 10 metres of a school or college has also been banned.
The government hopes that the measures will not only make people more health consciousness, but also cure them of bad habits and, thus, help in giving the state a cleaner look.
The provision of punishment was considered after a campaign against spitting and answering nature's call in public failed.
"But, hopefully not anymore. The punishments will make people think twice before they forget how to behave," said an official of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation.
Offenders can now be fined up to Rs10,000 or imprisonment for three months or both.
Policemen who do regular duty at public place like parks, hospitals, railway and bus terminuses and cinema halls will be asked to look out for offenders.
Consumption of tobacco on public transport systems has also been banned. Bus drivers and tram pilots can now lodge complaints with police against passengers who chew tobacco products while travelling.
A few months ago, Kolkata Mayor Subrata Mukherjee had spanked a person who was answering nature's call on the pavement of a prominent street. He had got down from his car, picked up a stick, tiptoed up to the unsuspecting man and swatted him on his backside.
More reports from West Bengal