KATHMANDU, June 27: If you are one of those who savor a puff while walking the road, you´re in for trouble as Kathmandu police have started to enforce a ban on smoking in public places.
Police detained 130 persons for three hours for smoking at public places in Kathmandu on Wednesday.
Metropolitan Police arrested them from four different places starting at 5 p.m. and released them at 8:30 p.m. after getting them to make written commitments to not repeat the offense.
The government banned smoking at public places after enacting an anti-smoking act last year. But the anti-smoking campaign did not really take off despite the police taking a few offenders under control outside Kathmandu immediately after the act kicked in.
Police had stepped back in the face of arguments that private vehicles and roads cannot be termed public places.
Kathmandu Metroploitan Police resumed a campaign from Wednesday to implement the government decision. Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Dhiraj Pratap Singh said the campaign will continue for a month. He said those smoking outside government offices and temples, in public parks, hospital premises and education institutions will be targeted.
Police had arrested individuals smoking in the street at New Road, Durbar Marg, Kamal Pokhari and Singha Durbar on Wednesday. DSP Singh said those arrested were not fined though there is a legal provision for slapping a Rs 100 fine, and were released after three hours after making a written commitment not to offend again. He said police will start fining offenders from Thursday.
The anti-smoking law also has provisions for the mandatory printing of colored pictures on cigarette packets showing the harmful effects of smoking and banning the selling cigarettes in individual sticks, but these have not been implemented. The government has been unable to enforce the provision on printing colored pictures on packets owing to pressure from the tobacco companies.