Smoking ban to be strictly enforced at bus stations

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BANGALORE, October 18:   Think twice before you light up a cigarette at a State road transport corporation bus station as the authorities are set to strictly enforce the ban on smoking in public places soon.

During the last four months (April to September), personnel of the security and vigilance wing of the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) caught 4,909 people while smoking at two bus stations in Bangalore — Kempe Gowda Bus Station and Mysore Road Satellite Terminal — and collected fine totalling Rs. 9,81,800 (Rs. 200 per violator) from them.

The KSRTC now plans to extend the drive not only to all its bus stations (145) but also to those of the North-western KRTC (128) and North-eastern KRTC (122).

While the Karnataka Prohibition of Smoking and Protection of Health of Non-Smokers Act prohibits smoking in public places, rules framed under this Act in 2009 detail enforcement of the ban.

KSRTC Director (Security and Vigilance) B.N.S. Reddy said the drive was aimed at deterring people from smoking and not at collecting fine.

Mr. Reddy told The Hindu that more than collecting fine, road transport corporations were keen on safeguarding the health of passive smokers, thereby implementing the Act in its real spirit. The drive was being undertaken by the personnel of the department and not by the police, he saidAs lawbreakers would be there everywhere, the exercise would be a continuous process, he added.
Other measures

During the four months, the security and vigilance wing identified 7,093 buses and 3,640 maxicabs indulging in illegal operations on nationalised routes, thereby causing revenue loss to the corporations. The KSRTC had submitted reports to the departments concerned to take action against the illegal operators, Mr. Reddy said.

Even though the Workplace Alcohol Prevention Programme and Activity and Action, launched by the then Director (Security and Vigilance) N. Srikumar, could contain alcoholism among the crew members to a large extent, nine staff members were found to be under the influence of alcohol during the period. As many as 6,234 staff members were checked to find out if they were under the influence of alcohol while on duty and action was being taken against the violators.

The security and vigilance wing also conducted inquiry into 422 complaints against staff members and recommended disciplinary action against 34 officers/staff. The line-checking squad detected 906 cases of pilferage by inspecting 5,673 buses and collected fine totalling Rs. 1,42,510 from 1,410 passengers who were travelling without ticket during the period.

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