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WB mulls blanket ban on gutkha

West Bengal is likely to impose a blanket ban on making and consumption of gutkha.

Written by Arshad Ali | Kolkata | Published: July 13, 2012 5:01:51 am

After Kerala,Madhya Pradesh,Bihar and Maharashtra,West Bengal is likely to impose a blanket ban on the manufacture,storage,sale and consumption of gutkha,public health engineering (PHE) minister Subrata Mukherjee told The Indian Express today.

“Talks are on at different levels and we would soon hold a meeting with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in this regard and seek her approval,” Mukherjee said.

Kolkata Municipal Corporation KMC) authorities termed the ban,once in place,a welcome move.

“Gutkhas are unhealthy and consumers dirty the city as well. We would welcome such an initiative. Once the state government bans gutkha,we will go all out ensure that it is implemented with full force,” said Atin Ghosh,member mayor-in-council (MMiC),Health.

The director of medical education and ex-officio secretary,department of health and family welfare,however,said: The gutkha industry provides livelihood to a large number of people,it is,therefore,difficult for an elected government to ban it.”

Officials of Food and Drug Administration,too,said there could be some resistance from manufactures who,in the past,had moved court when a ban was imposed.

Oncologists said the number of cancer cases caused due to tobacco is alarming. “It is about 30-40 per cent. Oral cancer is highest in the eastern and north-eastern region of the country. The percentage of tobacco- related cancer as compared to all the cancer cases is 55 and 45 per cent among men and women,respectively,” said Dr Joydeb Biswas,director,Chittaranjan National Cancer Institute (CNCI).

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