Gujarat government extends gutka ban by a year

Gujarat government extended a comprehensive ban on the sale, stocking, production and distribution of gutka as well as pan masala containing nicotine today for another year in the state.

"On September 11, 2012 imposed a ban on sale, stocking, production and distribution of gutka and pan masala which contains nicotine under provisions of the Food Safety and Standards Act and its Regulation Act. Today the government decided to extend that ban for one more year," Gujarat state's spokesperson and Finance Minister Nitin Patel said in an official statement.

As per the notification issued on September 3 last year, the ban enabled by provisions of Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, on the manufacturing, sale, storage and distribution of gutka was initially for the duration of one year.The notification stipulates that any violation of ban on food articles containing nicotine and tobacco as ingredients would attract at least six months of imprisonment and a fine of upto Rs 5 lakh.

However, 100 per cent export-oriented units have been exempted from the prohibition. "Chief Minister Narendra Modi has appealed to the people to make Gujarat a gutka-free state and the response from across the state is overwhelming. Hence, the government has decided to extend the ban," Patel said. During the past one year, state agencies raided 28,172 units of wholeseller and retailers and seized around 8,976 kg of gutka from 31 units, as per official statements.

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