Chandigarh, July 10:
Taking cognizance of reports of sale of banned tobacco-laced products such as Gutka and Pan Masala, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has directed the Department of Health & Family Welfare to ensure strict implementation of the ban in the state.
Despite a notification issued by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA), Punjab, reports suggested that sale of flavoured, scented and chewing tobacco in the state continues to take place, according to an official spokesperson, who said the Chief Minister has taken serious note of the blatant violation of the ban notification.
According to the spokesperson, the Chief Minister has issued strict instructions to the Department of Health & Family Welfare to crack down on violations of the ban order and ensure deterrent action against the violators under the relevant provisions of the law.
The source of the manufacture and sale of the banned products should be identified and plugged without delay to prevent the problem escalating out of control, said the Chief Minister, in his directive to the department.
A notification banning loose products of this kind, as well as loose tobacco and cigarettes and hookah bars, in the state is issued every year by FDA Punjab. The latest notification to this effect was issued in February 2017 and remains in force till February 2018. The ban on loose tobacco and cigarettes relates to products without specified health warnings under Section 7 of COTPA (Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products Act), said the spokesperson, adding that the provisions of the Act apply to all tobacco-related products, whether packaged or unpackaged or sold as single unit or separate products.
The notification is in line with the Supreme Court orders prohibiting sale of pan masala (without tobacco) and flavoured chewing tobacco in separate sachets.