Bengaluru: It is a rule that has remained only on paper that no shops within 100 meters of schools and colleges should sell tobacco-related products. But the scene on the ground is different with shops selling cigarettes, gutkha and other tobacco products to customers, probably even to students.
The BBMP, which has noticed the violation, has asked its zonal officials to raid such shops and seize all the goods. After a few raids initially, the officials are now seeking the help of the police as they faced intense protests from shopkeepers.
A senior BBMP official said, “Zone-level officials told us that shopkeepers get local politicians to intervene, making their job difficult. They want the police to help them carry out the raids, and we will write to the police department to accompany our officials when they go around checking shops. We will keep the police officials updated on the dates of such raids and visits. We have directed our officials to seize the products and also penalise those who have rented out the space to such shops. If they continue the offence, their trade licences will be cancelled and shop sealed. We have been asked by the government to take strict action against such shops.”
Another official said, “School and college managements too have been asked to write to us if the find shops near their institutions selling tobacco products. We have been getting such information and we will take action once we get the police help. Even parents and general public can call the BBMP call centre to register their complaint, and we will take quick action.”...