On Monday, the Health Department conducted an operation under the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA) in Zirakpur Main Market, leading to a confrontation between the team and shopkeepers. The situation became tense, prompting a complaint to the police by health department officials. It is reported that the health department team requested bills for tobacco products from the shopkeepers, who refused to provide them, leading to a heated argument and escalating into a quarrel.
The altercation was intervened by other shopkeepers and some municipal council employees. Providing details about the incident, Dr. Shiv Deep Singh, a health department official, explained that as per the orders of the Punjab government, a raid was conducted on Monday at Ravi Mittal Karyana Store in Zirakpur Main Market. A significant quantity of banned tobacco was seized, and the shopkeeper failed to produce any bills for the confiscated tobacco. He further stated that the team, accompanied by the municipal council’s team, faced misbehavior when asking for bills from the shopkeepers.
While selling tobacco is prohibited at the Karyana store, the confiscated similar tobacco found in the shop has been seized. If the shopkeeper submits the relevant bills related to tobacco, his goods will be released. Additionally, raids were conducted at four other locations, resulting in the seizure of tobacco products, and a penalty of 1600 rupees was imposed. During the operation, Ravi Mittal stated that all the shopkeepers in the city are selling banned tobacco.
He claimed that the action taken against him is a conspiracy. He mentioned that if action is taken against all shopkeepers, he will also stop keeping such tobacco in his store.