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The TGV initiative against smoking

M. Somasekhar

HYDERABAD, March 29

SMOKING in places of public work and use and vehicles will soon be banned in Andhra Pradesh, with the State Assembly passing a Bill proposing this move with fines for the violators.

While this decision is to be enforced in the near future, a corporate house in Andhra Pradesh has claimed impressive results to a novel step it launched a couple of years ago to dissuade employees from smoking.

If you are an employee of the TGV Group, whose flagship company is the Sree Rayalseema Alkalies and Allied Chemicals, and give a declaration that you will not smoke, an incentive of Rs 700 per month awaits you. The no-smoking allowance is given every month to the spouse of the employee in the form of a demand draft. In cases where the employee breaks his agreement and is found smoking, penalties in the form of withholding of increments and later disciplinary action would follow. Explaining this novel practice, Mr T.G. Venkatesh, Chairman & Managing Director of Rayalseema Alkalies, told Business Line that the incentive was open to new as well as existing employees of the Group companies.

"We feel that if an employee can keep away from smoking during the near 10 hours he spends at the workplace, he would have the necessary will power to kick the habit permanently,'' he said.

This `carrot and stick' approach had worked well in our group companies and we were pushed to take the difficult decision to take extreme action in the form of sacking of two employees so, he said.

The TGV Group, which has nearly 30 different lines of business and over Rs. 100 crore turnover, has incurred an expenditure of Rs 14 crore so far on this cause. It has a workforce of around 2,000.

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