A joint inspection conducted over the last month has collected a fine of about Nu 391,780 until yesterday for non-compliance to controlled substances law. The amount also includes fines collected from business units that were found selling alcohol without licenses and for not using commercial gas.

The inspection, which was conducted 12 times, apprehended 97 people smoking in public space, 39 for illegal possession of tobacco products and 16 shops for not complying with the tobacco rules.

According to the report from the regional trade and industry office, licenses of 13 business units are due for cancellation for violation of the tobacco law, about 10 business units were fined for selling alcohol without proper licenses and five were fined Nu 10,000 per incident for not complying with the use of commercial gas. Some bars were also fined Nu 5,000 per incidence for non-compliance of bar timing.

Once a business unit is found to be in violation of the tobacco law, the license of the business unit is cancelled and fined Nu 10,000.

As of yesterday about Nu 230,000 was collected from cancellation of licenses for violation of tobacco law, for selling alcohol without license, for not complying with the use of commercial gas and for non-compliance of bar timing.

Those caught smoking in public spaces were fined Nu 500 each while those in-charge of entertainment centers and bars are liable a fine of Nu 1,000 a smoker for allowing them to smoke in the establishment. Management of any agencies is also liable to pay a fine of Nu 10,000 in case of not putting on ‘no smoking’ signboards and not designating smoking rooms. For illegal possession of tobacco products, the offender is made to pay fine based on the amount they have in possession.

The joint inspection to monitor public compliance to the provisions of controlled substances law was carried out from July 10 to July 28. Officials from Bhutan Narcotic Control Authority (BNCA), department of trade, revenue and customs department, thromde and the police conducted the inspection.

BNCA’s director general Phuntsho Wangdi, said the inspection was carried out mainly to control illegal tobacco and alcohol sellers from targeting the youth especially during the summer vacation.

Chief programme officer of supply reduction division with BNCA Ugyen Tshering, said that during inspections, a decrease in non-compliance of the public to the provisions of tobacco and drug law has been observed over the years.

He said that similar ad hoc inspections would be carried out in other dzongkhags and in Thimphu in future.

Karma Cheki