Policemen have their work cut out with the BMTC extending the bus service deadline and with the intensifying of the anti-smoking drive in public areas

With the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) expected to extend bus services on select routes till 1a.m., the city police are gearing up for long hours at work. This, however, does not imply that they go to bed much early at present.

The city’s nightlife has been stretched with the relaxation of the deadline on eateries till 1 a.m. apart from the extension for pubs and bars during the weekend. To maintain a stern vigil, the police have also roped in home guards during the extended deadline. They have received a shot in the arm with the State government providing funds to purchase 70 more patrolling vehicles.

Given the nature of incidents reported from other metropolitan cities by night, the Bangalore police see BMTC bus travel as a safer mode of transport during the night as compared to private transport. They feel with rising instances of drunken driving , encouraging public transport would lessen accidents at night.

A senior official, however, said that it should be ensured that BMTC drivers working at night behave themselves and do not drive under the influence of alcohol. “It would therefore be appropriate that drivers are put through an alcohol test similar to the manner in which the other motor vehicles are subjected to,” said the official.

Though smoking in public places has been banned since October 2008, no enforcement machinery has been put in place to implement the stringent measures that have been enacted to penalise offenders in the short term and reduce consumption of tobacco in the long run.

After a gap of several years, the Bangalore police appear to be waking up to the fact that they are also empowered to curb the practice of smoking in public places.

Consequent to all this, special attention is being paid to areas surrounding schools, colleges, hospitals and places of worship.

As many as 2, 221 cases have been booked against public smoking as of March this year and fines amounting to Rs. 3.86 lakh have been collected.

This is in stark contrast when compared to a paltry 8 cases that were booked in 2012 .

The police claim that they have not been able to penalise many of the offenders due to lack of awareness among the members of the public regarding the ban.

The outcome of this intensified drive is reflected in the number of cases booked last year — 6554 cases and a cumulative fine of Rs. 11.61 lakh. Given the nature of the drive, opting to quit smoking seems to be a better choice.

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