The rampant flouting of norms related to sales of tobacco products is a common sight at one of the planned sub-cities, Dwarka, New Delhi. The vendors selling tobacco products can be seen almost at every nook and corner of the city. The sales are being carried out even within the distance of 100 meters from school at many places.
Open sales of such items can be seen along the Master Plan Road No 201 and in sectors 6, 9, 10, 12,13, 14, 19, 22, 23 and so on.
Mostly, vendors are selling these products on footpaths. But violations have also been done by shops at defined market places. They don't hesitate or bother to check when it comes to selling tobacco products to minors (below 18 years of age). The vendors are selling these products without any fear of law.
Director of Sahaj Sambhav, an organisation working on drug de-addiction, Rekha Jhingan said, “It is definitely a shameful thing for all of us including community, authorities and also the organisations in the area working for the social welfare of the young generation in getting them free of addiction from tobacco products like gutkha, cigarette etc.”
“One of the major causes of such trend is no check on the violation of laws. I have seen school boys using tobacco products in Dwarka and its surrounding areas. Small children living in slums can also seen being addicted to tobacco products. This is absolutely a shame for the society in general. I want to appeal everyone to join hands together to check such things. Authorities should take strict action against violators of the rules,” she added.
The irony is that these things are in the knowledge of the administration, yet no action is being taken to stop or curb such trade.
A social activist and resident of Sector 10, Vijay Shankar said, “They sell the tobacco products to minors and also they violate the rules by selling the products within 100 meter from any school. The school going children are vulnerable to tobacco addiction. Administration should think over it seriously and rule of law should be established on all fronts.”
After school time, students can be seen buying cigarettes or any tobacco product at small shops on footpaths and at the shops in any mall or markets near to the schools. There are two shopping malls, one in sector 22 and another in sector-23, where cigarette and tobacco products are being sold. There are at least four or five schools in the radius of 100 meters of these malls too. In sectors 6, 7, 10, 12 and 14, such practice is common.
Neither the parents nor school authorities are bothered and everyday new vendors are coming up and violating the laws in the sub-city. The local police said that they do take action against such shops and also write to the corporation.
Corporation officials said that the vendors are always removed from the footpath during regular anti-encroachment drives. But the basic fact remains that the efforts of both the police and the SDMC are not enough to control this menace which is spreading with the passage of every single day.