The Bihar government has now ordered six-month jail or a fine of ₹200 for tobacco users spitting in public.
In view of the spread of Coronavirus , the State government on Monday passed an order that anyone caught spitting tobacco or pan masala in public places will invite imprisonment of six month or a penalty of ₹200.
Also read:COVID-19: Prohibit use, spitting of smokeless tobacco in public places, Health Ministry tells states
“Spitting tobacco in public places poses a threat to public health in view of Corona, encephalitis, tuberculosis, swine flu or other viral diseases…under section 268 and 269 of Indian Penal Code, the offender of the law will be punished with either six months of jail or penalty of ₹200”, said the order issued by the State Health Department.
Earlier, the Central government too had urged the State governments to ban the use of tobacco in public places as a step to contain spread of COVID-19.
Also read:Siwan in Bihar emerges as a COVID-19 hotspot
The order issued by the State government has also asked all District Magistrates and Superintendents of Police for its effective implementation in their respective areas.
However, many in the State believe that implementation of the order in Bihar will be a difficult task for the officials as 25.9% of people use tobacco.
“Bihar, by and large, has a rural base and many people here use smokeless tobacco in the form of khaini…so it will be very difficult for officials to restrict people from using it in the state”, said village youth Deepak Kumar.
North Bihar’s Vaishali, Samastipur and Sitamarhi district are the largest producers of tobacco in the State.
Meanwhile, the number of COVID-19-positive patients in Bihar has gone up to 66. A 40-year old man from Nalanda was detected as COVID-19 positive on Monday night.
Along with Siwan, Begusarai and Nawada the State Health Department has started home screening of people in Nalanda district as well to identify those infected.
These four districts have been marked as COVID-19 hotspots in Bihar.