GUWAHATI, Jan 20 � The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Assam Police has threatened to take action against two major tobacco product manufacturing companies if they do not remove all the illegal tobacco hoardings installed by them in Assam.
In a letter issued by the SSP (CID) to the regional heads of the tobacco companies ITC and VST, the CID has fixed a deadline of 15 days for the companies to remove the hoardings.
The Assam Tribune had recently reported how violation of Section 5 of the Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products Act, 2003 (COTPA) still continues in different parts of Assam, including Guwahati.
Sources, while making a copy of the letter available to this newspaper, said that strict action would be taken against the violating companies if they refuse to adhere to the laid-down rules.
Violation of Section 5 of COTPA amounts to a fine of Rs 1,000 or two years in jail on first time violation and a fine of Rs 5,000 or five years� imprisonment for subsequent violations.
Section 5 of COTPA prohibits any advertisement which directly or indirectly suggests or promotes use or consumption of cigarettes or any other tobacco products.
It is to be noted that despite repeated interventions made by the authorities concerned, the anti-tobacco products campaign has failed to yield desired results.
As per the amended rule of Section 5 of COTPA, tobacco products can be advertised on the package containing tobacco products, at the entrance and inside a warehouse storing tobacco products and at the point of sale (tobacco product selling shop) or distribution only.
But presence of hoardings advertising tobacco products, larger than prescribed (60cm x 45 cm) at the point of sale and more than two boards at one point of sale are regarded as violation of the Section.