Rajasthan vendors protest govt’s ban on selling non-tobacco products
According to a circular, sale of tobacco products without licence will also be considered a crime. Similarly, those selling biscuits, cold drinks, wafers, chips, or toffees cannot sell tobacco products, the circular stated.Updated: Jan 09, 2018 13:11 IST
The Pink City Pan Merchant Sanstha on Saturday urged chief minister Vasundhara Raje to withdraw the state government’s circular prohibiting sale of non-tobacco products by them. Protesting the circular, the members of Santha took out a rally at Civil Lines and submitted a memorandum addressed to Raje to an official at chief minister’s residence.
The Department of Local Bodies on Thursday issued order that shops authorised to sell tobacco products cannot sell non-tobacco products such as toffees, biscuits, wafer, chips, candies, or soft drinks. According to the circular, sale of tobacco products without license will also be considered a crime. Similarly, those selling biscuits, cold drinks, wafers, chips, or toffees cannot sell tobacco products, the circular stated.
The Pink City Pan Merchant Sanstha represents more than 2.5 lakh traders, retailers and panwallahs, selling tobacco products across Rajasthan.
Sanstha director Gulab Chand Khoda said if this circular was not withdrawn then small retailers would be forced to resort to illegal activities to survive. “This move is against the government’s promise of ‘Sabka Sath Sabka Vikas’ and will have a destructive effect on livelihood of many,” he added.
Sanstha’s general secretary Avind said that it was unfortunate that the state government did not consult the retailers. “If this circular is not withdrawn, then government should give permanent jobs to us and our family members.”
The officials said that the members of Sanstha come from the poorest sections of the society and their livelihood depends equally on selling of tobacco products and non-tobacco items of everyday use such as bread, eggs, juices, soft drinks, and wafers.
They said the vendors sell tobacco products only to adults.
The Union health ministry had last year in September asked the state governments to develop a mechanism so that non-tobacco products such as wafers, bread, eggs and biscuits were not sold at retail shops that sell tobacco. The move, the ministry had said, would prevent children from exposure to tobacco products.
Giving or selling tobacco to a child attracts up to seven years of rigorous imprisonment under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015.
According to a government-approved survey, every fifth adult in India is addicted to gutkha and khaini, while 100 million people smoke cigarettes and bidis.