SC advocate accuses top official of health dept of scuttling tobacco ban

SC advocate accuses top official of health dept of scuttling tobacco ban

Submitted by alvin on Sat, 2016-12-03 20:38 Bengaluru: Supreme Court advocate KV Dhananjay on Friday created a flutter when he accused Shalini Rajneesh, Principal Secretary, State Health Department, of deliberately undermining the fight against tobacco by not enforcing the ban on gutka and other substances.In a FB post, Dhananjay said that Shalini had “strictly instructed health officials to not enforce tobacco ban in Karnataka”. Dhananjay said he received the information from whistleblowers. “After both the Karnataka High Court and the Supreme Court were informed that this paper ban would be rigorously enforced throughout Karnataka to prevent further deaths, disease and suffering. Criminal Contempt against her should be ordered and we are now exploring the same,” he wrote in his post.When Bfirst.in contacted Shalini, she said it was hard to implement the ban due to paucity of staff. "We have only fifty officers on the field to check if it implemented or not. I have asked the government to appoint 50 more officers and implement the ban on tobacco. Once this happens from next month, officers will create awareness in manufacturing units, among public and also shops,” she said, adding that officials had been directed to go on field check every Monday and Tuesday. “Hence I do not agree with the allegations," she said.Dhananjay said officials were having a tough time in implementing the ban due to Shalini’s attitude."We too have done the field work in 30 districts of Karnataka but tobacco or gutka still exists everywhere. Hence we will file an application in the HC and produce evidence against the health department. When orders cannot be implemented in the interest of common man then what are they for?" Dhananjay said.