Jharkhand has made it mandatory for all state government employees to submit an affidavit stating that they will abstain from consuming any form of tobacco.
The decision was taken on Tuesday at a meeting of the National Tobacco Control Programme’s state chapter, headed by Jharkhand Chief Secretary Sukhdev Singh, with an aim to implement the Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products Act, 2003 (COTPA).
The state will also issue a gazette notification on the affidavit, which will be implemented from April 1 next year, it was informed.
“An affidavit has to be submitted by all government employees stating that they will not consume tobacco. It will be implemented from April 1, 2021,” the government stated in a release.
Tobacco products include any “cigarettes, bidi, khaini, gutkha, pan masala, zarda or supari as well as hukka, e-hukka, e-cigarettes and tobacco products being used by any name — smoking and smokeless”, it was decided.
Chief Secretary Singh also directed the Rural Development and Panchayati Raj departments to send letters to all zila parishads, panchayat samitis and gram panchayats and ask them to organise tobacco control discussions in every gram sabha meeting. Sources in the government said Principal Secretary (Health) Nitin Kulkarni had mooted the idea. It is not clear whether there will be any penal action on those found in violation.
In April, Jharkhand had banned sale and consumption of tobacco products in public places, including online sales, in view of increase in chances of Covid-19 infection.
In Tuesday’s meeting, all deputy commissioners and superintendent of police of the state’s border districts were ordered to increase vigil at checkposts to stop entry of banned tobacco products.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines