Anti-smoking body to fight entry of tobacco industry in Hamirpur

Shimla : Opposing the setting up 80 tobacco units in Hamirpur district , the Himachal Pradesh Voluntary Health Health Association(HPVHA) said Wednesday it would fight against this move by the state government .

“Naturally , we oppose the setting up of 80 bidi units in Hamirpur . We will first speak at the state government and then decide the exact course of action and stop the entry of the tobacco industry in the hill state,” said P.R. Ramesh , president HPVHA .

PR Ramesh, President HPVHA

“If the response isn’t positive from the government we will go to the public and campaign against this move , we don’t rule out going to court as well,” Ramesh told the Hill Post .

The state cabinet last week gave its nod to West End Tobacco Pvt Ltd to set up 80 bidi units across Hamirpur district , the home district of chief minister P.K.Dhumal .

The company has promised to provide a whopping 40,100 jobs in these units .

This move has been criticised by many , saying while the state government talks about making the entire state smoke free but on the other hand it is bringing in the tobacco industry in a big way to the hill state .

Talking about the future plans S.N.Joshi , Consultant HPVHA said , “We intend to make Himachal smoke-free by 2013 . In the next few months we will campaign against smoking in 52 blocks and all district towns .”

The HPVHA is funded by an international organisation to make the state smoke free . The campaign was launched in the state capital Shimla last year.

Photo credit: Lalit Kumar

In a 20 year career published widely. He has worked for the BBC, AFP, The Statesman, IANS and the Business Standard . Known for his hard hitting writing and occasional off-beat stories. He lives in Shimla.

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