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FDA to intensify drive against gutkha, pan masala

The ban on sale, manufacture and consumption of guthka and allied products came into force in July 2012.

By: Express News Service | Pune |
July 21, 2014 11:37:18 am

The Food and Drug Administration has decided to intensify the drive against gutkha and pan masala after the government’s decision to extend the ban on tobacco and related products by another year.

Joint Commissioner, FDA, (food) Shashikant Kekare said on Sunday that gutkha worth Rs 5.72 crore had been seized in Pune division in the last two years. As many as 306 court cases have been filed and another 266 FIRs have been filed in connection with seized pan masala and gutkha.

The ban on sale, manufacture and consumption of guthka and allied products had come into force in July 2012. A total of 19,218 inspections were carried out in Pune division comprising Pune, Satara, Sangli, Kolhapur and Solapur during this period.

Kekare said on Sunday that gutkha worth Rs 5.72 crore had been seized in Pune division in the last two years. As many as 306 court cases have been filed and another 266 FIRs have been filed in connection with seized pan masala and gutkha.

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The ban on sale, manufacture and consumption of guthka and allied products had come into force in July 2012. A total of 19,218 inspections were carried out in Pune division comprising Pune, Satara, Sangli, Kolhapur and Solapur during this period.

FDA raided 1,018 places and recovered gutkha worth Rs 5.72 crore. So far gutkha worth Rs 5.70 crore has been destroyed, Kekare said.

Pan masala packets still make their way to Maharashtra from Gujarat and Karnataka. Export of gutkha and allied products is allowed from Gujarat, though sale is banned in the neighbouring state. The stock meant for overseas markets finds its way here, he said.

The state attempted to ban gutkha in 2002 and in 2008, but encountered legal hurdles. Maharashtra took the first step and implemented the ban in 2012 and on Sunday it extended it by another year. The Food Safety and Standards Act prohibits products containing nicotine and gutkha in the interest of public health.

“We will intensify our drive against gutkha and pan masala. Licenses of pan stalls will be cancelled if they are found selling gutkha or scented pan masala,” Assistant Commissioner FDA , Dilip Sangat said. Awareness drives will be conducted at schools, construction site and other places to make them aware of harmful effects of gutkha consumption.

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