Ban on smoking in Goa only after tourist season

November 15th, 2008 - 5:56 pm ICT by IANS  

Panaji, Nov 15 (IANS) Smokers in Goa can puff away till the end of the year - despite the law against smoking in public places in the rest of the country - as the state’s peak tourism season lies right ahead.The state says it wants to create more awareness about the ban, which came into effect Oct 2, before enforcing it.

Shekhar Salkar, who is part of the state-run Tobacco Control Cell, Saturday said the state government would start penalising people from Jan 1 for smoking in public places.

Salkar was speaking to reporters at the end of an orientation session for police personnel vis-a-vis the new anti-smoking rule aimed at wiping out the perils of passive smoking.

Those caught violating the rule can be fined Rs.200.

“We don’t want them to fine people right now, we need to educate them too initially,” Superintendent of Police (North) Bosco George said.

“We have devised a reward and appraisal system where the policeman who creates maximum awareness about the anti-smoking act will stand to benefit.”

Goa, which has a population of approximately 1.3 million, attracts nearly twice as many tourists each season. The tourist season starts in late October, peaks in December and tapers off by February.

The current tourism season seems to be slack thanks to the global economic slowdown, with a sharp decrease in the number of chartered planes flying down to Goa from Russia, Britain and Germany.

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