KOCHI: Though the government banned sale of intoxicants within 100 metres of educational institutions, several shops continue to flout the rule by selling paan and cigarettes near schools. This was revealed in a drive conducted by the Ernakulam district squad in over 100 schools in Kakkanad and Thrikkakara on Monday.Closure notices were issued to shops selling the banned tobacco products, said an officer who was part of the drive.
Also, some of the schools failed to put up cautionary messages regarding tobacco use, on their notice boards.“It was also brought to our notice that school protection committees and PTAs in many schools were non-functional,” said deputy district medical officer Dr K Savitha. Action was taken against shops which failed to put up the cautionary message issued by the government. “Notices were served on these shops,” Dr Savitha said.
Circle inspector Sojan Sebastian who was alerted about the incident, said the shops selling tobacco products near schools will be evicted at the earliest. “The findings of the squad will be submitted before the additional district magistrate,” he said. P N Srinivasan, district health officer who was also part of the drive said they will hold more inspection drives in the coming days.
Additional District Magistrate (ADM) K Chandashekaran Nair called for cooperation from all government agencies to completely eliminate sale and use of tobacco products. The district squad will carry out inspections on five-days every month. The taluk-level squad will also begin inspections very soon. Meanwhile, it has been decided that panchayats, municipalities, corporation and residential associations who successfully eliminate tobacco products in respective wards will be awarded.