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Himachal bans sale of loose cigarettes to dissuade youngsters from smoking

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loose cigarette sale ban Himachal

Himachal Pradesh Government has released a notice banning sale of single cigarettes and ‘bidis’ under Section 7 (Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce Production, Supply and Distribution) Act 2003. A person found guilty of violating the law shall be punished under Section 20 of COTPA told the state health department.

According to the Section 20, a violator can be punished with one year imprisonment or Rs. 1,000 fine or both for first timers. If same person found guilty second time, the penalty will be Rs. 3,000 or 2 year jail or both. Food Safety Officers are given responsibility to monitor proper implementation and action against violators.
HP State Health Minister Kaul Singh Thakur claimed it as a step towards discouraging people, especially youngsters, from smoking.

The youngsters buy single cigarettes … Our objective is to dissuade them from tobacco use and smoking. In case, we face any difficulty in implementation of ban through this notification, we may come out with a separate law on this,

he said.

The idea is to make cigarette purchase difficult for youngsters who can’t afford to buy a complete pack of cigarettes or avoid buying packet for fear of being caught at home and school.

Sale, manufacture, storage and distribution of tobacco products like Gutka, Kheni and Pan Masala, and chewing tobacco products were completely banned in Himachal on October 2, 2012. Himachal has also banned cigarette smoking in public places.

However, HP government seems to have completely failed to check illegal sale of these products. According to activists and consumers of these products, now shopkeepers are charging Rs. 15 to Rs. 20 for a packet of ‘Khaini’ that was earlier sold for Rs. 5. Similarly, a packet of Gutka is sold for Rs. 5 that used to cost Rs. 1 prior to the ban. Faulty implementation of the policy is rather assisting growth of black market.

Critics are of the view that ban on the sale of loose cigarettes will also end up benefiting shopkeepers who have found an opportunity to sell it in black.

While traders in Himachal have not yet reacted to the ban, Tobacco Sellers Association in Uttar Pradesh is protesting against the ban imposed on sale of loose cigarettes by the state government. While submitting a memorandum to CM Akhilesh Yadav, Association said,

Poor people sell loose cigarette but now the government has made two years jail along with Rs 5000 as fine for the first timers and five yrs jail and Rs 10,000 fine for the second time offenders, which is very objectionable

Association also claims that this decision of UP government has hit livelihood of over 25 lakh families in the state.

Madan has studied English Literature and Journalism from HP University and lives in Shimla. He is an amateur photographer and has been writing on topics ranging from environmental, socio-economic, development programs, education, eco-tourism, eco-friendly lifestyle and to green technologies for over 9 years now. He has an inclination for all things green, wonderful and loves to live in solitude. When not writing, he can be seen wandering, trying to capture the world around him in his DSLR lens.

Misc News/Press Release

COVID-19 Update: 26 More Test Positive in 4 Districts, 70 in 3 Days, State Tally Rise to 273

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Himachal Pradesh daily COVID-19 data for may 27

Shimla: New COVID-19 cases continue to spiral in Himachal Pradesh. According to the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare’s daily COVID-19 bulletin released on May 27 (9:00 PM), 26 persons were tested positive in four districts of the State. Of these, 15 cases were reported from Hamirpur,  seven from Bilaspur, three from Kangra, and one from Una district. In the last three days, the State has reported 70 cases, which is alarming. 

In Hamirpur, five persons hailed from Badsar area, three from Naduan, six from Hamirpur and one from Bhoranj. The majority of them have recently returned from Maharashtra.

Total for Hamirpur district has reached 73 – highest in the State, followed by Kangra with 65 cases.

In Bilaspur, two persons were said to be bus and cab drivers. Details of other patients from the district were awaited.

In Kangra, three persons who tested positive were identified as a 29-year-old resident of Fatehpur, a 30-year-old from Khaniyara, and a resident of Palampur. These people had returned from Delhi and Gurugram recently.

In Una, a person who had returned from Delhi with his family was tested positive.  

Most of the person who tested positive were under institutional quarantine except for three persons in Kuther of Bilaspur district who were home-quarantined.  

Refer to the below-given table for more details on district-wise COVID-19 data:

District-Wise COVID-19 Cases in Himachal Pradesh Till May 27, 2020 (9:00 PM)

Himachal Pradesh District wise Covid-19 data till 27 May

The number of total confirmed positive cases in Himachal has risen to 273, of which 198 are active. So far, 66 patients have recovered, five died, and four migrated to outside the State for treatment.

Further, today 1480 samples were sent for testing, of which 912 tested negative and the reports of 560 persons were still awaited.

 

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COVID-19 Update: Himachal Reports 24 New Cases in 5 Districts, 44 in 2 Days

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Quarantine rules in himachal pradesh for returnees

Shimla-Himachal Pradesh didn’t receive any respite from growing COVID-19 positive cases on May 26 too. According to the State Health Ministry’s daily COVID-19 bulletin, on May 26 (till 9:00 PM), 24 more persons tested positive in five districts. Yesterday, the State had reported 20 cases including a 7-month-old baby.  

Hamirpur, the worst affected district in the State, reported highest 15 cases, taking the district’s COVID-19 tally to 78. Shimla and Kangra reported three cases each. Two tested positive in Chamba and one in Una district.  All patients in Hamirpur had returned from Thane in Maharashtra on May 24 and were under institutional quarantine. The Deputy Commissioner, Hamirpur, Harikesh Meena, confirmed the report. The patients would be shifted to COVID-19 care centres.

Shimla, which remained unaffected during three phases of the lockdown, reported three more cases including two from Chopal area and one from Rohru.  All three are returnees from Maharastra. The senior health official confirmed. Two of them were quarantined in Deha and one in a rest house in Rohru, which have been sealed.

District-Wise COVID-19 Cases in Himachal Pradesh Till May 26, 2020 (9:00 PM)

Himachal Pradesh District wise Covid-19 data till 26 May

In Kangra, three members of a family – husband, wife, and their 7-year-old kid- tested positive. The family had returned from Gujrat on May 20. The DC, Kangra, Rakesh Prajapati, confirmed the report.

In Chamba district, two persons who had returned from Uttar Pradesh on May 20 in a cab, tested positive and were under institutional quarantine in Sarol.

According to the last official update from health ministry at 9:00 PM, the total has risen to 247, of which 175 are active. Of the total, 63 have recovered, five died, and four migrated outside the State. 

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Himachal Sold Retail Liquor Vends Worth Rs. 1180 Crores: Govt

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Sale of HP Excise Liquor vends in 2020

Shimla-Principal Secretary, Excise and Taxation Sanjay Kundu on today informed that despite lockdown and recession in economy due to COVID-19 pandemic in the State, left out retail liquor vends of Shimla, Nurpur, Kangra and Sirmaur zones have been sold for Rs. 35.52 crore today.

Sanjay Kundu said that against a total retail liquor vend business of Rs. 1190 crore, the Excise and Taxation Department have been able to sell the business for Rs. 1180 crore in the State.

He said that except today’s auctions, rest of the business has been sold at full value. The liquor vends have been sold for the first time without negotiation on renewal tender cum auction basis.  Last year the retail liquor business was valued at Rs. 1085 crore and after negotiation, the price went down to Rs. 126 crore and net business was Rs. 959 crore, he informed. Against Rs. 959 crore last year, this year the business has been sold for Rs. 1180 crore, he said.

Principal Secretary said that the liquor vends of Shimla zone have been sold at Rs. 2.30 crore, of Nurpur for Rs. 6.03 crore, of Kangra for Rs. 4.80 crore and of Sirmaur for Rs. 22.39 crore. 

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