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Many Assam schools yet to be tobacco-free

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  25 Dec 2015 12:00 AM GMT

Dispur directs school inspectors, education officers to ensure compliance with target set in May last year

By Our Staff Reporter

Guwahati, Dec 24: The State Education department has issued a "strict reminder" to all Inspectors of Schools (ISs) and District Elementary Education Officers (DEEOs) to direct the defaulting schools under their jurisdictions to comply with the prescribed criteria for attaining tobacco-free educatiol institution status.

The reminder was issued by Principal Secretary (Education) PK Borthakur.

The Education department had in May last year pledged to make all educatiol institutions in the State tobacco-free by the end of this year.

The recent reminder mentioned that all ISs and DEEOs are to obtain undertakings from the head of the institutions which would contain --- endorsing that signboards reading "No Smoking Area" exist in the schools, no tobacco is consumed within the school premises by students, staff and teachers, and verifying that there is no sale of tobacco inside the premises and within the jurisdiction of 100 yards radius of the school.

Most educatiol institutions in Assam have already fulfilled the prescribed criteria towards attaining the tobacco-free status but many institutions, mostly in the interior parts of the State, are yet to comply with the norms set by the Education department.

The Assam Government also constituted two committees, one at the district level and other at the State level, to look after the activities of educatiol institutions in achieving the target of tobacco-free institutions.

It may be mentioned that Assam became the first state in the country to ban consumption, manufacture, advertisement, trade, storage, distribution and sale of smokeless tobacco, including pan masala and gutkha, with the ban coming into force from February last year. But the question remains --- has this ban been effective? If such tobacco products continue to be available, it will be tough indeed to wean schoolchildren away from this noxious habit.

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