Street vendors selling tobacco and liquor shops have increased by 58 per cent in last three years in Chandigarh. This came to light in a survey conducted by the Civil Engineering Department of PEC University of Technology. Another startling fact that came to light was that 30 of 108 vendors were seen selling tobacco within the radius of 100 yards of educational institutes which is in violation of the COPTA (Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products) Act.
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The study was conducted by assistant professor Har Amrit Singh, Civil Engineering Department along with second year students Pranjal Singh and Kirti Singh. Speaking to the Chandigarh Newsline, professor Singh said, “There are 30 vendors around the educational institutes and selling tobacco is an issue of major concern. The administration need to take up these issues seriously and carryout an in-depth survey if they want to stop the menace of sale of tobacco around educational institutes.”
The selling points were shortlisted in the survey as – liquor vends, tobacco street vendors and small shops – have risen from 121 in 2013 to 192 in 2016. However, as per the survey the number of liquor vends has considerably increased in the city in the last three years. In 2013, of the 121 selling points, 24 per cent were liquor shops while in 2016 of the 192 selling points identified 44 per cent were shops selling liquor. Also, of the 192 selling points 36 per cent were street vendors, 20 per cent were small tobacco shops and remaining 44 per cent were liquor vends. Interestingly, Chandigarh was announced as a smoke-free city in 2007, but the increase in the selling points, ostensibly share a different story.
There has been a sharp rise in the selling points in the southern sectors of the city. Figures revealed that in 2013, 63 per cent of these street vendors used to sell the products in southern sectors while in 2016, 85 per cent of street vendors sell tobacco. Sharing details of the survey Professor Singh said, “Majority of selling points of these products especially tobacco were located on the roads dividing the sector into a sub-sector. Another fact worth sharing is that a high percentage of confectioneries were seen selling tobacco products.”