Tobacco will soon be a thing of the past in the land of wrestlers. In a first, the mahapanchayat in Noida’s Sarfabad village has vowed to eliminate tobacco and its products in a bid to secure a healthier future for its youth.The panchayat has asked the village residents to abstain from selling or using tobacco. Such products would be a strict no-no for the younger generation henceforth.Initiated by the wrestlers-dominated community of the village, the move is aimed at urging the state government to impose a blanket ban on the use of tobacco products. The plan will act as a pilot project and subsequently spread to other rural pockets of the district.The panchayat has given its final word on the social menace and anybody found violating the same will have to pay dearly.Shopkeepers of Sarfabad village set fire to their tobacco products to show their support.Over 20 shopkeepers in the village brought their tobacco products and destroyed them in a bonfire to express support for the move.According to Sukhbir Pehelwan, a wrestling coach and organiser, the panchayat has completely banned tobacco and its use in the village.”Anybody found selling tobacco or its products would have to shell out Rs 1,000 as fine. Whoever is found chewing tobacco will be fined Rs 500. And we have decided to reward any person who informs us about anyone selling or using tobacco with Rs 100. The fines will be realised by the panchayat itself,” Pehelwan said.”If other states such as Haryana and Gujarat can ban it, why can’t Uttar Pradesh? A health recent ministry report has disclosed rising number of cancers in the country are caused by tobacco use. It has not only become a health hazard but a social evil. We aim to eliminate it completely,” he said.advertisementThe members of the panchayat would, on Monday morning, hand over a memorandum to district magistrate MKS Sundaram, addressed to the state government urging it to impose the ban at the earliest.”We have thought to make Sarfabad a model village in eradicating the use of tobacco in the state. We would soon begin awareness programmes in other villages too. We have given time to the government till August 30. If it does not do anything about it, we would turn this campaign into a movement,” Subodh Yadav, an international wrestler and 2011 Asiad gold-medalist said.Five villages in Noida – Sarfabad, Sorkha, Garhi Chowkhandi and Behlolpur have practised wrestling as a traditional sport and have produced numerous state, national and international players. Sarfabad, with a population of around 10,000, has over 150 professional wrestlers, practising the sport at various forums. Of them, three have wrestled on the international level while around 50 have participated in national events.Though the panchayat has started the campaign against tobacco, it would soon add alcohol to the list to prevent the younger generation of the village from falling prey to wrong practices which can only harm their health, a panchayat member said.