In spite of an outright ban on sale of tobacco products near schools and to minors, the trade is flourishing rampantly in Dwarka.
Vendors who have proliferated in the nook and cranny of Dwarka footpaths can be seen selling chewing tobacco, cigarettes and other such products near schools and even hospitals.
Open sale of such items can be seen in Sector 6, along the Master Plan Road No 201 and on footpaths. Also in Sector 9, 10,12,13,14, 19, 22 and 23, sale of such products can be witnessed near schools. The trade is mostly carried out by footpath vendors.
In some places even, designated tobacco vendors running shops in established locations are violating the norms. The vendors can be found violating the sanitised area norms in which there is a ban of such products within 100 metres from a school.
Clearly, there is no fear of law or consequences over violation of rule among the sellers. Rekha Jhingan, Director of Sahaj Sambhav, an organisation running a drug de-addiction agency in the area said, “Young generation is getting addicted to tobacco products in the form of gutkha, cigarette etc.”
“This is because there is no check by the authorities. I have seen school boys using tobacco products in Dwarka and its surrounding areas. Small children in slums too are getting addicted with tobacco and cigarette. This is absolutely a shame on the society,” she said.
Ironically, though the violations are acknowledged by the administration, yet they have failed to initiate any action to stop or curb such practices.
According to Namitha Chaudhray, General Secretary of “Choti Si Khushi,” an NGO working among the children in the area, “We face problems when we come across children who are only studying in class sixth but are addicted to smoking and chewing tobacco. That is a tough situation to handle… both the child and the parents find it difficult to cope with the trauma. Easy availability of such product in places close to schools is a major factor.”
After school time, children can be seen buying cigarettes or any tobacco products at petty shops on footpaths and at the kiosks in plush malls and markets near schools.
There are at least four or five schools within a radius of 100 metres of shopping malls in Sector 22 and 23 where tobacco products are being sold.
According to Ram Kumar Jha, a social activist living in Sector 23, “Neither the administration nor the civic authorities are serious about the subject. The parents or the school authorities are not bothered as everyday a new a set of vendors are coming up, violating laws in the area,” Jha said.
When City Spidey checked out on a vendor who was selling his banned wares within 100 metres of a school in Sector 6, he said “I have been here for more than 10 years and no one has ever objected. Who cares what is happening.”
The local police claims that they do take action against such shops and also write to the corporation. The South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) officials say that vendors are always removed from footpaths during periodic anti-encroachment drives. But, the basic fact remains that the efforts of both the police and the SDMC are not enough to control proliferation of such toxic substances in the area.TAGS: Cigarette consumption by youth / Cigarette shops in Dwarka / Gutka shop in Dwarka / Cigarette shop near school / Gutka shop near school / Dwarka news