VIJAYAWADA: Aimed at providing a healthy environment for the devotees visiting Sri Durga Malleswara Swamy Varla Devasthanam (SDMSD) atop Indrakeeladri from various places across the State and other States, NTR district collector S Dilli Rao on Saturday declared the temple premises a ‘tobacco-free’ zone.
In a meeting held with temple officials, health department officials and tobacco state nodal officers at the Endowments camp office, the collector asked the officials concerned to make necessary arrangements to ensure that the Kanaka Durga temple surroundings as a tobacco-free zone’ and enforce the ban strictly on the lines of Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD). The collector said that Durga temple is the second biggest temple in the State in terms of footfall and asserted the need for declaring it ‘tobacco-free zone’
“Cigarettes and other tobacco products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003 should be enforced in and around the temple such as ghat road, footpath and other areas being used by devotees. A penalty of Rs 200 will be imposed on those violating the rule. Strict instructions were given to all the traders near the temple not to sell tobacco products,” the collector said.
He asked temple employees and the police department to keep an eye on the sale of tobacco products and file cases if anyone found using tobacco products on temple premises.