Buddha sidesteps query on smoking in his chamber

October 2nd, 2008 - 4:55 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, Oct 2 (IANS) Notwithstanding the nationwide ban on smoking at public places from Thursday, West Bengal’s chainsmoker Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee refused to categorically say whether he would stop puffing in his chamber at the state secretariat here. “Don’t you think there are other works and bigger issues to concentrate upon in West Bengal?” is all Bhattacharjee told reporters, when asked Wednesday whether he would continue smoking in his chamber.

Public Works Department (PWD) Minister Kshiti Goswami, however, said that as per the ban order, no minister could smoke at his chamber or ante chamber.

“Smoking has been prohibited at the state secretariat from Thursday onwards. This ban is not only on smoking in public but the ministers and other officers cannot smoke even in their chambers or ante chambers,” Goswami told IANS. The PWD is in charge of monitoring the violation of the ban at the secretariat.

A top state police officer said he was yet to see the government notification on the smoking ban.

“The notification has not yet come to me. Thursday is a government holiday. May be, I will get it Friday,” Inspector General of Police (Law and Order) Raj Kanojia told IANS.

Kanojia said the police were all geared up to enforce the ban.

“A lot of agencies are involved in monitoring whether the ban is being enforced. There will be special inspectors appointed by all the agencies. Wherever the police role is required, we will do the needful,” he added.

Another police officer said the ban has been implemented at its Lalbazar headquarters.

“The ban on smoking in public has been implemented at Lalbazar. But as it is, we (police officers) don’t smoke in public,” Deputy Commissioner of Police (Headquarters) Vinet K. Goyal said.

The nationwide ban on smoking in public covers movie halls, hotels, stadiums, hospitals, discos, bus stops, tea/coffee stalls, railway stations, libraries and educational institutions.

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