Ban on Gutkha, Pan Masala extended by Maharashtra govt. for another year

The ban on Gutkha and pan masala in Maharashtra has extended for yet another year, declared the State government today. The most recent ban which was upheld by the Bombay high court was on 15th September 2012.

Maharashtra has banned the sale, manufacture, distribution and storage of
any kind of gutkha. The state has witnessed previous bans on gutkha on 1st August 2002 and then again in 2008. However both the bans were overturned by the state govt. on the basis on unfair trade practice.

Many states all over India have banned the usage of Gutkha and its different variants. As of May 2013, gutkha is banned in 26 states and 5 union territories.

Enforcement of gutkha ban:
The state public health ministry, the state Food and Drug Administration and the local police together enforce the ban on gutkha and Pan masala. The ban is not followed the way it should be with many shops still selling gutkha without actually displaying it in their shops.

The illegal sale of gutkha still occurs all over India, though the enforcement is strictly followed in regions like Mumbai and Delhi.

Ban extended for an year
The ban issued by the state government on the sales, manufacture, distribution of gutkha and pan masala was issued July last year. That ban was to be lifted by Friday, however the ban was extended by another 12 months.

On Wednesday, the Minister of state for Home, Satej Patil informed the Legislative Assembly that the ban was being extended for another 12 months. This ban was extended considering the number of oral cancer deaths that take place because of the use of gutkha and Pan masala.

Satej Patil later informed the reporters at Vidhan Bhawan that gutkha was one of the major reasons for oral diseases, including cancer.

Previous attempts of ban in the year 2002 and 2008 failed due to legal complications and finally the ban was facilitated in 2012. by the Food Safety and Standards Act.

The ban on sale, manufacture, distribution and sales on gutkha and pan masala is also being observed in 5 union territories and 26 states. Last month, Karnataka became the 26th state to ban Gutkha and pan masala.

All kinds of gutkha variants and sale of items containing nicotine and gutkha as the main ingredient in banned under the Act. All the items with whatever name available in the market is prohibited in the state.

The ban on the manufacture, storage, sale and distribution of gutkha and pan masala containing tobacco and nicotine is banned considering the interest of public health, clarified the minister.

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