Staff Reporter

Being a public holiday,

Gandhi Jayanti

NEW DELHI: Day One of the ban on smoking at public spaces turned out to be a relatively easy affair for the implementing agencies like the New Delhi Municipal Council, the Municipal Corporation of Delhi and Northern Railway. For it was a public holiday because of Gandhi Jayanti.

While the NDMC maintained that it was waiting for the complete guidelines issued by the Union Health Ministry to draft its ban implementation plan, the MCD claimed it had already received the necessary guidelines drafted by the Union Government and the Supreme Court.

MCD Medical Relief and Public Health Committee chairman Dr. V.K. Monga said: “We are meeting the Municipal Commissioner on Friday to discuss steps to implement the ban in the MCD areas.”

Municipal Commissioner K. S. Mehra said: “We plan to put in place a massive awareness campaign to educate the public about the ban in addition to deputing officials to challan violators. As the first day of the ban was a national holiday and most public places were closed we did not challan anyone. All arrangements to implement the ban have been put in place following a meeting on September 30. Instructions have been issued to all the officials concerned.”

Several buildings were seen sporting new “No smoking” boards in their lobbies and corridors and smokers could be seen smoking outside their office premises on Thursday.

The ban elicited a mixed reaction from smokers in the Capital. Many welcomed the ban, some opposed it, and still others suggested modifica- tions. Marketing executive Navin Khandelwal said: “We already had smoke detectors installed in our office so we used to smoke in the foyer. However, with the ban in place we have no place to go as “no smoking” boards have popped up in the foyer too.”

Gurgaon-based businessman Rahul Tripathi said: “The ban amounts to curtailment of one’s liberty if one is not provided with space at the workplace to smoke.”