Buddha’s ‘no comments’ on his smoking

September 18th, 2008 - 12:31 am ICT by IANS  

Anbumani RamadossKolkata, Sep 17 (IANS) West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya, whose smoking habit has led to state capital Kolkata losing out on international funds, Wednesday refused to comment on union Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss’ comment that he cannot smoke in a public place from Oct 2 when a ban on lighting up comes into effect.”No comments. We have come here to talk about the car,” Bhattacharya said to a poser put to him at a media meet he called to iterate his government’s position on the stalemate over the Tata Motors Nano project site.

Ramadoss had Tuesday said: “He cannot smoke at the (state secretariat) Writers’ Building from the Gandhi Jayanti. Why one building, he cannot smoke in any public place.”

A couple of months earlier, the health minister had also publicly appealed to the Marxist leader to quit smoking.

A senior World Health Organisation (WHO) official told IANS this week that Bhattacharya’s penchant for the puff had resulted in Kolkata being denied “millions of dollars” in international funds to fight the tobacco menace.

Bhattacharya has many times been spotted smoking in public places and government buildings. He has admitted on several occasions that he has not been able to get rid of his habit despite repeated efforts.

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