Special Correspondent

Health Ministry planning to start awareness campaign

"I can only appeal personally to them"Youth will be targeted, says Union Health Minister

NEW DELHI: Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Anbumani Ramadoss on Wednesday asked celebrities not to promote colas and junk food.

Talking to reporters on the sidelines of a Central Supervisory Board meeting, he said the Ministry was planning an awareness campaign, targeting particularly the youth, against consumption of cola and junk food.

"I can only appeal personally to film stars and celebrities not to promote cold drinks and fast food, as these are not healthy," he said when asked whether his Ministry would take steps to ban sale and advertisement of these products.

In Parliament also, Mr. Ramadoss said, he could only appeal to the members and others to abstain from consuming colas and fast food. "Colas are unhealthy and have addictive properties."

The Government had banned advertising of tobacco products and liquor. The decision to ban smoking scenes in films and television serials had drawn flak from the film and tobacco industries and the matter was pending before court.

On raising seats in Central health institutes, the Minister said AIIMS, JIPMER and PGI were in a position to raise seats in the next academic session, while for the other six, more infrastructure and faculty were required.

The Ministry was considering increasing the retirement age of the faculty from 60 to 62 years.

On payment of salaries to AIIMS junior doctors, who went on strike against the Government's decision to introduce 27 per cent quota for Other Backward Classes in higher education, he said the law of the land said: "no work, no wages."

Asked whether it was not against the Supreme Court order that said no punitive action would be taken against those who went on strike, he said the salaries would be given if the court so ordered.