State gets Bloomberg grants to scale up anti-tobacco initiatives
The State has been sanctioned a Rs. 1.2-crore grant by the Bloomberg Initiative for scaling up its tobacco control efforts.
Announcing this at a press conference here earlier the week, Health Commissioner V.B. Patil said Karnataka and West Bengal were the two States that had been allotted the Bloomberg grants.
Founded in 2006 by Michael R. Bloomberg, philanthropist and New York City Mayor, the global initiative is aimed at reducing use of tobacco and its products in developing countries.
“We have identified 10 districts where the project will be taken up in the first phase. Apart from intensive training of officials, measures will also be initiated to create awareness about the ill-effects of tobacco use,” Mr. Patil said.
Apart from Bangalore Urban and Bangalore Rural districts, the project would be taken up in Ramanagaram, Mandya, Mysore, Hassan, Dharwad, Belgaum, Yadgir and Gulbarga.
Pointing out that the Horticulture and Agriculture Principal Secretaries had been asked to discourage farmers from growing tobacco and instead opt for alternative crops, Mr. Patil said the Home Department had been asked to strictly implement the ban on sale of tobacco products within 100-m radius of educational institutions.
Complain to 100
“After a meeting of top officials from various departments, we have appointed district-wise nodal officials to monitor the implementation of the ban on sale of tobacco products near educational institutions. We are aware that the ban is not strictly implemented. Anyone who finds tobacco products being sold near educational institutions can lodge a complaint at the nearest police station. We are working on facilitating registration of complaints on the police control room number 100, from where the complaint can be transferred to the jurisdictional police station,” the Commissioner said in reply to a query.
Mr. Patil claimed that the State’s efforts on tobacco control and ban on smoking in public places started as early as 2004.
“Since October 2008, when the ban on smoking in public places came into force, we have collected Rs. 10,79,797 as penalty from violators and 10,336 cases have been filed. Of these, 1052 cases are yet to be settled as the violators have contested the levy of penalty,” he said.
The department had lined up various programmes, including a jatha and a public programme, to mark World No Tobacco Day on Friday.