The District Health and Family Welfare Department, along with the association of Mandya district police, on Saturday launched an anti-smoking operation in the city under the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production Supply and Distribution) Act (COPTA), 2003. Officials have registered cases against several people including a Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) driver for smoking in public places, and removed hoardings advertising tobacco products at various shops in the city. The drive was launched based on instructions issued by Mandya Deputy Commissioner B.N. Krishnaiah and Mandya Superintendent of Police Borase Bhushan Gulabrao, saidP. Maruthi, Surveillance Officer and Nodal Officer for COTPA.

Speaking to The Hindu here on Saturday, Mr. Maruthi said officials conducted raids at KSRTC bus-stand, and areas near Bangalore-Mysore Highway, V.V. Road, 100 Feet Road, and PES College of Engineering.

The officials inspected shops around educational institutions and instructed the owners not to violate the provisions of the Act.

A KSRTC bus driver, identified as S. Gopalakrishna, was found smoking a cigarette on the premises of KSRTC bus stand when officials raided the bus-stand.

Though caught red-handed, Mr. Gopalkrishna refuted the charges of smoking in a public place, Mr. Maruthi said.

“We have issued summons to the driver, but he said he would question the move [of issuing summons under COPTA] in the court,” he said.

Certain provisions of the Act prohibit direct or indirect advertising of cigarettes and tobacco products at the public places. Hence, officials have removed advertisements at several places in the city, C. Shivaswamy, District Health Supervisor, said. The department will take up the second round of checks soon. Soon, the drive would be extended to the city’s suburbs and taluk centres in the district, he said.

Meanwhile, police officials said the department will take strict action against those violating the Act in the district.