Hyderabad: In 2019, the Hyderabad control room received only one call via Dial 100 for smoking in public place, reveals an RTI query filed by activist Akshay Kumar. The RTI sought information about the number of cases filed and fines collected under COTPA (2003) by Rachakonda, Hyderabad and Cyberabad commissionerate.

Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003 [COTPA, 2003], came into force in 2003. This Act regularises the use and advertisement of tobacco products. The RTI response shows that the violations registered under this Act in Hyderabad are the highest compared to the other two commissionerate in the past three years. Rachakonda, as mentioned above, demonstrates the least number of cases registered.

Violations under the COPTA act (2003)

Till 2019 September1192736743

Akshay also sought a response on arrests under Section 77 of the Juvenile Justice Act, under which selling tobacco products or cigarettes to minors is punishable with seven years of jail and fine of Rs 1 lakh. According to the RTI, police filed no cases in Cyberabad and Rachakonda jurisdiction for this offence in the past three years. Meanwhile, in Hyderabad, police booked 135 violators in 2017 and 216 violators in 2018, and 40 violators until September 2019.

In 2013, ghutka was banned in the united Andhra Pradesh, as anyone found selling or possessing it was seized, and police arrested peddlers under the Food Safety and Standards.

The number of arrests for possessing Ghukta

Till 2019 September23271127

While talking to NewsMeter, Akshay said, “As per Section 6(a)(b) of COPTA(Act) 2003 tobacco and cigarettes should not be sold within 100 meter of any educational institution but, that is not the case. Fines for smoking in public places should be collected efficiently. Though COTPA was introduced in 2003, it hasn’t been properly implemented by the police. The amount of fines collected is also less. Police have only booked petty cases for such offences. This effort is not enough.”

Aiswarya Sriram

Aiswarya Sriram is a budding multimedia journalist and is currently working for NewsMeter as a "Factcheck Freelancer". A graduate from Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media (IIJNM) Bangalore, Aiswarya has earlier worked with The Logical Indian and has interned with Republic TV. Aiswarya, a Tamilian who was born and brought up in Mumbai, loves to do rural reporting. She has visited Byadgi Taluk of Karnataka, to write about the issues faced by chilli factory workers there, earlier in 2019. A craft enthusiast, Aiswarya also does quilling, painting and glass work. On her off-days, she loves to read crime-thrillers and watch anime. She primarily reports on civic issues, GHMC, human-interesting features, and fact-checking video stories.

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