After months of smoking ban, Chhattisgarh yet to file a case

December 28th, 2008 - 12:48 pm ICT by IANS  

Raipur, Dec 28 (IANS) Chhattisgarh police, yet to register a maiden case against a smoker even after three months of ban on smoking in public places, say they have more serious jobs in hand in the Maoist insurgency-hit state.Top officers at the police headquarters here said the state police, having a strength of nearly 40,000 personnel for nearly 20.08 million population, were still looking for the first case against a smoker.

“As of Dec 27, we are still awaiting the first victim in Chhattisgarh under the Smoking in Public Places Rules, 2008. Though it’s easy to catch a smoker anytime we visit public places it’s not happening because we are pre-occupied with more serious assignments,” an officer told IANS Saturday.

Chhattisgarh is one of the worst Maoist-hit states in the country and insurgents have killed over 1,100 people including 726 civilians since 2004, with majority of casualties reported from the mineral-rich Bastar region.

The government had enforced a ban on smoking Oct 2 at government and private offices, educational institutions, hospitals, parks, airports, railway stations, bus stops, hotels, restaurants and roads to curb tobacco use that kills an estimated 900,000 people in the country every year.

Additional Director General of Police Girdhari Nayak said: “Police are very serious to enforce the ban as it is related to peoples’ health.”

But when asked as to why police had failed to register even a single case so far, he said: “Let me find out.”

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