Another paan masala haul from train

Gutkha smuggling Rs 3-lakh worth banned subtance seized from Mumbai Central.

Four days after gutkha worth Rs 22 lakh was seized from the luggage compartment of the Pushpak Express at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) seized another stock of banned paan masala worth Rs 3 lakh from Mumbai Central Railway Station on Monday. The stock found in the luggage compartment of the Firozpur-Mumbai Express consisted of gutkha and zarda which is a locally made tobacco product. The officials were informed about the consignment when the train was being unloaded.

"The seized stock had Dilbagh paan masala and DB Zarda, worth around three lakh rupees, more in the black market. This is the second time in a week we have found these banned substances being brought in to the state from other states. We have to trace where this stock came from," said G V Japtap, assistant commissioner (Food), FDA. The consignment will eventually be destroyed.

Newsline had reported on Monday that FDA has formed special flying squads to keep a check smuggling of gutkha and paan masala into Maharashtra from other states. Following the latest raid, FDA has strengthened its inspection and posted inspectors for longer periods of time at critical points such as train and bus termini.

"After the state banned gutkha and paan masala, there have been suspected smuggling of the banned goods from other states. We have set up special teams to patrol entry points and restrict the goods from entering Maharashtra. In case a private bus or van is found ferrying the banned substances, an FIR will be filed against the owner of the vehicle," said Jagtap.

Following the state ban on gutkha and paan masala that came into force in July, the FDA has seized gutkha and paan masala worth over Rs 10 crore from the state, Mumbai alone accounting for Rs 1.7 crore of this.

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