An extensive ban on sale, manufacture, distribution, transportation, display and stocking of gutka products in the national capital will come into effect in a day or two. In the interest of public, Delhi Government announced a ban on pan masalas containing tobacco and other packaged chewing tobacco products.
The decision came after a meeting headed by Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit at the Delhi Secretariat. Health minister A K Walia and principal Health Secretary Anshu Prakash were a part of the meeting panel.
Delhi health minister, A K Walia, later explained the government’s decision. He said that the government was always in favour of enforcing a ban on gutka products. The ban will come into effect as soon as a notification to this effect is issued. [Read: Tobacco Use and your Oral Health]
After it becomes legitimate, food safety department will be conducting raids across the capital region, to make sure that the ban is implemented. The department has already made nine teams to conduct the raids. The violators can face rigorous imprisonment for up to six months or could also be asked to pay fine up to Rs 3 lakh, or both.
Government's official announcement to ban tobacco products immediately came without consideration of huge revenue loss. According to estimate of revenues’ department, the state government will lose around Rs 40 crore due to the ban. Health bodies, associations of doctors and NGOs have welcomed state government’s decision of blanket ban.
Under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, a regulation of empowering the state's food safety commissioner to ban tobacco products, was added in 2011. As per Prohibition and Restrictions on Sales regulation, gutka products along with other chewing tobacco products (zarda, pan masala, gul and bajjar) can be banned from being sold in Indian states.
Among state where all consumable tobacco products are banned include Kerala, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Rajasthan. Three other states, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat, have also filed public interest petition to ban tobacco products.
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