In theory,the nationwide ban on smoking at public places came into effect on October 2,2008,but its implementation remains dismal at best. Even as smoking at public places goes on rampantly,authorities here have been merely passing the buck.
When a Nawanshahr-based NGO,Help,recently filed an RTI application seeking information about the action taken under the Anti-smoking Act from the Nawanshahr SDM,it was asked to contact the Civil Surgeon (CS),the nodal officer for the Acts implementation in the district. But when the NGO sought the information from the Civil Surgeons office,instead of the statistics and data it had asked for,all it was given was a list of officers who can challan people under the provisions of the ban.
Parvinder Singh Kitna of Help said,We wanted to know about the action taken against violators and the number of challans issued,among other things,but administrative and health authorities have been shifting the responsibility.
There is no check on public smoking,which harms non-smokers as well. The well-meaning ban,too,has been rendered useless by those responsible for implementation, he added.