Lucknow, April 25 (IANS) Weeks after banning junk food in all schools in the state, the Uttar Pradesh government Wednesday stepped up its ‘mission’ to make all degree colleges and universities ‘tobacco-free’, an official here said.
Higher Education Director Ramanand Prasad said he had asked all authorities concerned of the degree colleges and universities to take “prompt action” in this regard. This, he said, was being done after receiving a communique from the union Health and Family Welfare Ministry.
The communique by the state government has been sent to all registrars and vice-chancellors and regional higher education officers for implementation.
Aiming to rein in the ‘discipline breakers’, the state higher education department has asked the vice-chancellors and registrars to personally give an affidavit and certify that their respective campuses were tobacco-free. If this was done and any violation was found they will be punished, said a highly placed sources.
The law department has been asked to give its legal opinion on various points including the distance within which the sale of tobacco or tobacco products would not be allowed. So far, a ban on sale of tobacco or tobacco products within a 100 metre periphery of schools is in force in Uttar Pradesh.
Tobacco has emerged as a major killer in the state and incidences of oral cancer has risen in towns like Mainpuri, Shikohabad, Agra, Firozabad, Etawah, Kannauj, Fatehgarh and Kanpur where the sale of ‘paan masala’ (chewing tobacco) and tobacco is rampant.
Earlier this month, the state government had issued instructions to all schools to ban sale of junk food within their premises and outside their campuses.