NEW DELHI: Very few in the most populous states like Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, faced the heat for smoking in public places against the law while states like Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh and Tamil Nadu came down heavily on violators.
Data accessed by this newspaper from the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare reveal that last year, of the Rs 3.51 crore fine collected under the Cigarette and Other Tobacco Product Act, 2003 just Rs 2.58 lakh was collected from violators in Bihar, UP and MP.
This is less than one per cent of the total fine imposed in the country under COTPA. Under section 4 and 6 of the COTPA, fines of up to Rs 200 can be imposed on individuals smoking in well-defined public places and on those selling tobacco products within 100 yards of any school premises.
Last year, a total of over 3 lakh violators were penalised for violating the two sections of the Act but the figures clearly reveal that some of the smaller states are doing far better in terms of enforcement of the act as compared to others.
Data also show that Puducherry was the only state or Union Territory where not a single individual was penalised for the violation. Binoy Mathew of Voluntary Health Association of India said that the densest states should learn from smaller states. “It is police in states who is responsible for enforcement of the act and it is obvious that UP and Bihar police do not take these violations seriously,” he said.