SRINAGAR: A joint team of Anti-Tobacco Squad (ATS) on Tuesday caught red handed 31 persons, including some officers smoking at public places in the summer capital, Srinagar on Tuesday.
Officer on Special Duty (OSD) Aamir Ali in the office of Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, said a joint ATS, comprising representatives from Drug and Food Control Organisation, Health Department and Police inspected various places in Srinagar and caught 31 people smoking in public places.
A fine of Rs 4800 was recovered on spot from the guilty persons, he said.
The persons found smoking included one Accounts Officer, Industries Department, Two Naib Tehsildars and one Junior Engineer, Roads and Buildings (R&B) posted at Barbarshah near here.
Smoking in public places is prohibited under Section 4 of Cigarettes & Other Tobacco Products, Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution Act 2003 (commonly known as COTPA).
Public places, under the Act includes any place to which the public has access, whether as a matter of right or not and all places visited by the general public. It also includes hospitals, restaurants, hotels, public offices including Government, Public, Private, as well as newspaper offices, court buildings, all educational institutions, libraries, public conveyances including buses, taxis, trains etc. and railway stations, bus stops, shopping malls, coffee shops, airport lounges.
It is also mandatory that all public places should display sign boards indicating that smoking in public places is an offence.
Under COTPA all Gazetted Officers are authorised to take action against anyone caught smoking in public places and can compound the offence under the Act falling within their premises up to a fine of Rs 200 per offence.