The day when the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) launched, with much fanfare, the Zero Garbage project in partnership with ITC Ltd., the Consortium for Tobacco-Free Karnataka (CFTFK) demanded the civic authority dissociate itself from the tobacco company.

In a press release in Bangalore Monday, CFTFK objected to the BBMP’s partnership with ITC for the project.

Pointing out the irony of this partnership, it the theme for the year’s World No Tobacco Day was prohibition on tobacco advertisement, promotion and sponsorship, and a state-level consultation on such a ban was planned for this week.

Besides, the BBMP was a district anti-tobacco control cell while ITC was the largest manufacturer of cigarettes in India.

According to S.J. Chander from CFTFK, BBMP’s partnership with ITC “violates section five of Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, as well as Article 5.3 of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control signed by government, as it enhances public image of a tobacco company and amounts to an indirect promotion of tobacco”.

In 2010, the Karnataka High Court had directed another government agency (Indian Tobacco Board, Ministry of Commerce and Industry) to end its partnership with tobacco companies for an event in Bangalore. It had termed such partnership as indirect promotion of tobacco, the release added.

“While we appreciate BBMP’s efforts to control tobacco use…the civic body should discourage tobacco companies’ efforts in promoting their image through so called corporate social responsibility,” said Upendra Bhojani of CFTFK.

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