BENGALURU: If you have visited your favourite pub or restaurant recently, chances are, you would have seen a crowd at the entrance or in any other open area of the restaurant standing and smoking. A recent directive by the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), making it compulsory for restaurants, pubs and hotels to obtain a no-objection certificate (NOC), before they allow customers to smoke in their premises, has made life hard for managers of popular establishments across the city.
While the BBMP is insisting on an airport-like setup, where there is a smoking room with ventilation, most restaurants so far were making do with just a separate seating area for smokers. According to restaurant managers, now they have been forced to stop this practice. “We had a separate seating area in the open where we could serve guests who preferred to smoke. However, this has also stopped and currently, we are asking them to step out to smoke,” said the manager of a pub on MG Road adding that this isn’t a ‘popular option’.
According to the rules, however, this is also not permitted. “There must be a dedicated room in place for smokers to puff away. They cannot be directed to the entrance or exit and no service can be provided in the smoking zone,” a senior BBMP official clarified. According to the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003, the smoking zones cannot be established at the entry or exit of the hotel, they should be physically separated and surrounded by full height walls on four sides and must have an exhaust system in place. None of these rules are followed in most restaurants around the city.
Perhaps, as a result, there are almost no applications for a no-objection certificate from the BBMP. “We have received a negligible number of applications considering the number of places in Bengaluru. There is an online system through which applications can be filed and the certificate can be issued within 20 days. We will publicise this option in the coming days,” said Dr Manoranjan Hegde, Chief Health Officer (Public Health), BBMP. Meanwhile, establishments will have to put in place smoking sections as per norms as it is unlikely that the BBMP will permit smoking outside the premises or in an open area for long.
A smoking area/space should:
Be used only for the purpose of smoking and no other service(s) shall be allowed
Not be established at the entrance or exit of the hotel, restaurant or airport and shall be distinctly marked as ‘smoking area’ in English and one Indian language as applicable.
Be physically separated and surrounded by full height walls on all four sides.
Have an entrance with automatically closing doors normally kept in close position.
Have an airflow system that is exhausted directly to the outside and not mixed back into the other parts of the building.