SRINAGAR: District Magistrate Srinagar, Er. Farooq Ahmed Shah imposed a complete ban on sale of cigarettes and other tobacco products within 100 yards of all hospitals in the District, in the interest of patient care. Medial Superintendents of all hospitals have been directed to ensure implementation of the ban.
In another significant order DC Srinagar has ordered cancellation of registration of such shops that sell tobacco products to children below 18 years or if any shopkeeper is caught selling banned Gutka, Khaini or Pan Masala containing tobacco. In case of violation by any shopkeeper, the Heads of the educational institutions have been asked to furnish details of such shopkeepers to Chief Education Officer, Tehsildar and concerned SHO for immediate action.
These orders were issued by DC Srinagar on the representation made by A.M.Mir (IAS Retd) Executive Director J&K Voluntary Health Association (JKVHA), VHAI New Delhi and members of civil society. JKVHA pleaded before District Magistrate Srinagar that Associated Hospitals, including GB Panth, SMHS, Chest Diseases, Bone & Joints and LD Hospital are all an extension of Govt. Medical College and similarly SKIMS Hospital Soura and JVC Hospital Bemina are also teaching institutions, as such Hospitals are places of learning and Educational Institutions. Under section 6 of Anti Tobacco Act (COTPA) the sale of tobacco products within 100 yards of all educational institutions, is banned. The organizations had also pleaded before DC to cancel the registration of any shop violating Section 6(a) of COTPA which prohibits sale of tobacco products to children below 18 years.
Srinagar has thus become the first District in the Country to ban sale of tobacco products near hospitals and is also the first district to issue orders for cancellation of registration of shops if caught violating section 6 of COTPA. These people friendly measures have been highly appreciated by JKVHA, VHAI and members of civil society. They have hailed the decision of DC Srinagar and hoped that other DCs would issue similar orders in their districts and ensure its strict implementation.