News Desk: Seven months ago, Commissioner of Food Safety, Food and Drug Administration, Govt. of Assam by a notification prohibit manufacture, storage, transportation, display, distribution or sale of Gutkha, Pan Masala, or any chewing material, etc. containing tobacco or nicotine as an ingredient available in the market, keeping in view about the harmful effects caused by nicotine-based chewable tobacco products. But still now, gutka, tobacco etc. are openly selling in the State.
Consumers’ Legal Protection Forum, Assam alleged this in a letter, submitted to Chief Secretary, Govt. of Assam. The copy of the letter is also submitted to DGP, Assam Police and Nodal Officer, State Tobacco Control Cell, Health Department. In the letter, Advocate Ajoy Hazarika, Secretary, Consumers’ Legal Protection Forum, Assam, with great concern, alleged that at the time of lockdown, Chief Secretary, Govt. of Assam instruct all district administrations to issue an instruction for citizens on the strict ban on gutka, tobacco, etc. and prohibition of spitting in public places.
After that instruction too, the selling of gutka, tobacco, etc. is not completely stopped in most of the places. Most of the street vendors are selling gutka, tobacco etc. openly. In the field verification, conducted by CLPF, it is found that most of the street vendors are selling gutka, tobacco in high rate. They sell the products 2/3 times higher than the actual price.
There is no vigilance from the side of local administration on selling of gutka, tobacco etc. by the street vendors. Most of the street vendors openly display the gutka, tobacco etc. in their stole. They easily and smoothly collect the gutka, tobacco etc. from the market.
In view of the increasing danger of COVID-19 pandemic, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR); Ministry of Home Affairs , Government of India; WHO in their various directives and advisories emphasis on strict ban on sale of gutka, tobacco, etc. ICMR has appealed the general public to refrain from consuming the smokeless tobacco product and spitting in public place during the COVID epidemic.
According to WHO advisory “Chewing smokeless tobacco (khaini, zarda, gutka, paan and paan masala with tobacco) and areca nut (supari) increase saliva production and enhance the urge to spit repeatedly. Spitting in public places could increase the spread of COVID -19”.
Home Ministry, Govt. of India also imposed a strict ban on the sale of gutka, tobacco. Dr.Harsh Vardhan in his letter to Assam Health & Family Welfare Minister also urged Dr.Himanta Biswa Sarma, to completely ban the sale of tobacco products and spitting in public places in Assam. But after all these initiatives, administration fails to regulate the sell of gutka, tobacco.
In view of the present situation, Consumers’ Legal Protection Forum, Assam demand Chief Secretary and DGP to strictly execute the ban order on sell of gutka, tobacco, etc. in market with immediate effect.
Image Source: Internet