Gutkha, paan masala ban comes into effect
To implement the ban on gutkha and paan masala, the state food and drugs administration (FDA) will rope in several agencies such as the police, municipal authorities and transport department, said Mahesh Zagade, state FDA commissioner, on Friday.mumbai Updated: Jul 21, 2012 01:02 IST
To implement the ban on gutkha and paan masala, the state food and drugs administration (FDA) will rope in several agencies such as the police, municipal authorities and transport department, said Mahesh Zagade, state FDA commissioner, on Friday.
The state government had issued a notification on Thursday banning sale, distribution and manufacture of gutkha and paan masala in Maharashtra from July 20.
“We were able to ban both gutkha and paan masala using sections of the Food Safety and Standards Act (FSSA). All stakeholders should come forward to help us implement the ban,” Zagade added.
From now on, 208 food safety inspectors will take strict action against persons selling gutkha or paan masala which contains tobacco, nicotine and magnesium carbonate, it is learnt. The fines for non-compliance will range from Rs. 25,000 to Rs. 2 lakh and also attract a jail term of up to six months. The ban will be valid for a year.
The state had attempted to ban gutkha twice earlier — in 2002 and then in 2008 — but encountered several legal hurdles.
The FSSA, which came into effect last year, gave the FDA the authority to introduce a ban on food products that are harmful to public health. Zagade said the classification of gutkha and paan masala as food by the Supreme Court had enabled them to introduce this ban. Cigarettes and bidis do not fall under this category.
Doctors and activists have welcomed the move.
“We request the government to give powers to gazetted officers to create a cadre of people,” said Dr Pankaj Chaturvedi, associate professor, Tata Memorial Hospital.