Delegates coming to the Vibrant Gujarat Global Investors Summit (VGGIS) 2015 can carry their cigarette packs, but cannot smoke on the premises of the Mahatma Mandir, the venue for the three-day biennial business event that will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on January 11.
In keeping with the “philosophy” of the venue, alcohol, non-vegetarian food and smoking will not be allowed on the premises. What’s more, smokers among the thousands of domestic and foreign delegates from 121 countries attending lengthy seminars will not get smoking zones.
After no liquor during meal breaks due to Gujarat Prohibition Act and no non-veg food as the premises is built on Gandhian philosophy that advocates vegetarian regime, no smoking will be the third rule that diplomats and industries delegation will cope up with to attend the seventh edition of the summit.
Not only that smoking does not go with the philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi, around which the state of art convention hall has been built by the Gujarat Government under the guidance of Narendra Modi, even Gujarat Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 does not permit a special smoking zone at the premises as it does not provide lodging.
The Industrial Extension Bureau (iNDEXTb), for the first time since Mahatma Mandir was inaugurated in 2011, will put up “no smoking” signboards to politely convey the message to the VVIPs, including top global CEOs, industry captains and accompanying delegates from 121 countries.
For three days between January 11 and 13, more than 20 events, including conferences, seminars, business-to- business and business-to-government meetings will be held at Mahatma Mandir, besides the inauguration function, to be presided over by Modi, and the valedictory session. Most of these events will last for two to four hours at a stretch.
“There will be no scope for smoking breaks for any participant. Diehard smokers will have no choice, but to leave the sprawling premises with four seminar rooms, three exhibition halls, seven conference halls and meeting rooms,” said a top official from iNDEXTb, which manages Mahatma Mandir.
“While taking the decision to put up ‘no smoking’ signboards, we consulted the health department if we can provide a smokers’ zone. But such facility under the Gujarat Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 is permitted only for premises that provide accommodation facilities, that too with with at least 22 rooms.”
However, nobody will be stopped from carrying cigarettes inside the premises, as there is no such rule that bans its possession inside public places. “With seminar and conferences expected to last for longer durations, many would be tempted to light up. But then our volunteers will politely show them the signboard,” said an official.