Buddhadeb cannot smoke in Writers Building, asserts RamadossSeptember 16th, 2008 - 6:49 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Sep 16 (IANS) West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya cannot smoke in any public places including the state secretariat Writers’ Building from Oct 2 when a general ban will come into effect, Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss reiterated Tuesday.“He cannot smoke in the Writers’ Building from Gandhi Jayanti. Why one building, he cannot smoke in any public place,” Ramadoss asserted, a couple of months after he appealed to the Marxist leader to quit smoking.
“I have not talked to him directly but, yes, we have sent letters to all chief ministers including the West Bengal chief minister. I have also written to all state health ministers about no-smoking rules from Oct 2,” he told IANS on the sideline of a convention on illicit tobacco trade here.
The central government is banning smoking in all public places from Oct 2, the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
“We are going to implement the rules and those who violate will be punished. If any one wants to smoke, he can go to the road,” the minister said.
“Public places” will include all office buildings, hospitals, schools, colleges, railway stations, airports, bus stands, hotels and restaurants.
The government is empowering principals of schools, colleges, station masters, NGOs, postmasters and airport authorities to fine those smoking in public places. Once caught, the smoker will have to pay Rs.200 or whatever cash he has if he is carrying less than that amount.
Ramadoss and World Health Organisation (WHO) experts say they are helping all state governments and other interested organisations to check tobacco consumption.
When asked about Kolkata losing out on international aid due to Bhattacharya’s smoking habit, Khalil Rahman, tobacco coordinator of WHO Southeast Asia office, said: “We don’t like to comment on any particular individual or organisation.
“We would like to see less tobacco consumption in countries across the world. We support all governments and private organisations to fight the tobacco menace,” he added.