Gutkha ban ineffective as overpriced sale continues
Supreme Court's order banning plastic satchets and packaging in gutkha and pan masala has backfired in the most unlikely way.delhi Updated: Mar 18, 2011 23:55 IST
Supreme Court's order banning plastic satchets and packaging in gutkha and pan masala has backfired in the most unlikely way.
While on one hand manufacturers lag behind in rolling out these products in non-plastic packs, sellers across the Capital have a field day hoarding the stuff and charge outrageous premiums on the retail price.
For example, a pack of pan masala, with the printed MRP of Rs 6 is being sold for anywhere between Rs 8 and Rs 10.
"The prices of pan masala and gutkha packets increase every evening and retailers are saying that the ban has skewed the demand and supply ratio," said Gautam Mukherjee, a Saket resident who is addicted to tobacco products.
"The good thing is, I have cut down on my consumption and hope to quit it altogether very soon."
Upon orders for the apex court, the ministry of environment and forests has sent letters to chief secretaries of states asking them to enforce the ban.
In Delhi, where any kind of plastic packaging is already under a state-government ban for the past couple of years, the recent order has not translated into action.
The order puts the onus of the implementation solely on the civic agencies - in Delhi's case, the Municipal Corporation of Delhi and the New Delhi Municipal Council - which are yet to spring into action.
"Commissioner, Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), has already issued directions to all the deputy commissioner to take appropriate actions. We are also studying all provisions for initiating action. Though action has already started taking place but we need to implement them more strictly," said Deep Mathur, director, press and information, MCD.
"We have stopped manufacturing and selling completely as directed by Supreme Court and are working on alternate packaging," said a spokesperson of DS Group, which manufactures many popular pan masala and tobacco products.
She said the supply already with the wholesalers is being sold by them but the company cannot enforce the ban.
"It is not a new in Delhi. We are already under a ban from state government directed by the Delhi high court," said Vinod Jain, petitioner of the public interest litigation that led to the ban in Delhi two years ago.