Wednesday, February 20, 2008


GANGTOK, February 19: Those of you who like to emulate the Marlboro Man and believe that walking around with a cigarette in your hand is macho, think again.

Smoking may now burn more than your lungs, if you happen to do it at the MG Marg here.

The State Urban Development and Housing Department (UD&HD) is mulling over a proposal to ban smoking along the MG Marg. The ban comes with a heavy fine for offenders.

This decision, which has come a few years after the Marg was declared a “Litter and Spit Free Zone,” may soon be implemented.

This was informed by the UD&HD officials in a day-long awareness cum capacity building campaign organised for the porters of Gangtok and its surrounding areas here today.

The new rule may come into force once the MG Marg renovation and beautification works are completed.

The State Government has banned smoking in public places, but the law has not been implemented well. The general public is not clear how much area the law covers. It is also not clear whether the ban on smoking in public places include public transport as well. Its provisions and how much penalty does smoking in public places carry is also not clear to the public.

Sikkim, being the most eco-friendly and hot tourist destination today, should implement this ban on smoking in public places in right earnest and set an example. People are of the opinion that this ban should be more strictly implemented in public transport and crowed places like movie halls.

“I am happy that the State Government has finally decided to properly implement the ban on smoking in public places. After MG Marg, other areas like movie halls and restaurants should also be included in the ban,” said Chhaya Chettri from Gangtok.