Smoking ban wafts offshore to Goa casinos

Offshore Goa casinos, where punters love to push their luck, will not be spared from the ban on smoking in public places, an official said.

Shekhar Salkar, Goa tobacco control cell in charge, told IANS the ban would be extended to the several offshore casinos which dot the Mandovi river that flows by state capital Panaji.

„Casinos are also public places. They will not be spared. We will not allow smoking in casinos whether they are docked at the wharf or are floating offshore,“ said Salkar who’s also the general secretary of National Organisation for Tobacco Eradication.

He said that the state health ministry was in an overdrive and planned an awareness campaign on television, radio and in the print media from Monday.

He added that although the act came into force Oct 2, the state government would not fine offenders immediately.

„For a month the task force will only caution offenders. The law will be strictly implemented from Nov 2,“ said Salkar.

Ralf D’Souza, Travel and Tourism Association of Goa president, said the service industry had received the ban well.

„We have nothing much to worry about. As far as the Indian tourist is concerned, the law applies all over India, so there is no element of shock,“ he said.

„Foreign tourists are used to such stringent norms in the countries they hail from,“ D’Souza added.