A comprehensive ban on production and sale of gutka will come into effect in Gujarat today, as per the notification issued by the state government. Chief minister Narendra Modi, during his Independence Day address, had announced complete ban on gutka from September 11.
However, there is a catch in the notification issued: sale of gutka will be prohibited, but one would be free to sell separately tobacco, beetle nut and lime separately.
The ban as per provisions of Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 would initially be for one year, Gujarat’s Commissioner of Food Safety Dr H G Koshia had said.
Any violation of ban would attract at least six months of imprisonment and a fine up to Rs 5 lakh, according to the notification. However, the prohibition would not be applicable in respect of 100 per cent export oriented units. The ban will also not be applicable to pan masala. The Global Adult Tobacco Survey of India 2009-10 revealed that 35 per cent adults use tobacco in some form or other, out of which 21 per cent were found to be consuming smokeless tobacco (like gutka). As per this survey, smokeless tobacco use is more prevalent in Gujarat with 18.4 per cent of the adult population addicted to it. The Maharashtra government had recently imposed a ban on gutka and pan masala. Some other states like Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Bihar had also followed suit.