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Deadline for `no smoking' in films extended to Jan. 1

Even until last week, I&B officials made it clear that the ban could not be implemented

Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: The Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry has decided to extend till January 1, 2006 the deadline for banning smoking scenes and tobacco products in movies and television serials. The decision has been taken on the request of the Information and Broadcasting Minister and the film industry, Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Anbumani Ramadoss told The Hindu.

"This is the final extension we are giving and after this we will go ahead with the ban," he said. He said the Ministry would not accept the I&B Ministry's suggestions on grading the movies showing smoking and tobacco products.

"We will fight the case with the help of the best lawyers."

Objections to move

The ban was announced on May 31 to be implemented on August 15.

But it was deferred to October 2 after the I&B Ministry, the film industry and the tobacco lobby raised objections. The Health Ministry gave concessions, but there was no consensus on the issue even until last week when I&B officials clarified that the ban could not be implemented.

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