While cell phone is banned in most schools in the state, the government plans to ban it outside the school zone and "will consider whether to authorize police to enforce the ban," Primary and Secondary Education Minister Basavaraj Horatti and Health Minister R Ashok said at a press conference in Bangalore.
"The government is taking the decision to ban cell use by children less than 16 years on the basis of advice of medical experts. Prolonged use of cell by teenagers does affect their health," they said.
A government notification on the ban will be issued soon, they added. The notification will also issue guidelines to mobile phone dealers not to sell instrument to anyone below the age of 16.
"We don't market our services to children. Our first target segment is college atudents," V Venkatesh, Chief Executive Officer of Airtel Karnataka, told IANS.
"Hence from the company's marketing point of view, the decision will not make any difference to us," Venkatesh said.
The ministers also said that government would launch extensive programmes to create awareness among parents and children about the harmful effects of prolonged cell phone use.
Most school principals have welcomed the government's decision, "We welcome the decision. It is good. Nowadays many students are losing interest in studies as they are busy using the mobile to talk or send smses," said Vani Surendra, Headmistress of Jnana Mitra School in Bangalore.