The Delhi government on Monday decided to enforce a complete ban on the manufacture,sale and storage of gutkha in the national capital.
The decision was taken at a high-level meeting chaired by Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit. The ban awaits notification,which is expected by Wednesday.
Dikshit announced the ban on Monday following a meeting with Health department officials. Such products pose a very serious health hazard. They will be banned after a notification and violation of these orders will result in stringent action, Dikshit said.
She said the ban would include the manufacture,sale,display,transportation and storage of such products.
Health Minister Dr A K Walia said gutkha and other such products contain pan masala,nicotine and tobacco. These substances make for a very potent carcinogenic product. So,the government has taken this decision to ban them. Many other states have already banned such products, he said.
He said the government had persisted with the ban,though it would cause a huge loss to the exchequer. Government officials said the revenue loss could be around Rs 40 crore.
Following the notification,the Health department would start picking up samples of such products across Delhi,Walia said.
Cases will be registered under the Food Safety and Standards Act against any manufacturer and trader found violating the ban. This is an uphill task,but we are geared up for it, the Health Minister said.
He said the ban would be implemented by the Department of Prevention of Food Adulteration.
On August 22,the Delhi High Court had asked the city government to take a decision on banning gutkha products within two weeks,while disposing a PIL.
The PIL filed by Doctors For You sought to ban such products considering the spurt in oral and lung cancer cases in Delhi.
The PIL also mentioned a study by the World Health Organization (WHO),which stated that close to 25 per cent of Delhis population consumed tobacco in some form or the other.
Madhya Pradesh,Kerala,Haryana,Bihar,Himachal Pradesh,Maharastra,Rajasthan and Goa have already banned the sale of gutkha.