The manufacture and sale of gutka are banned in Maharashtra, but it is not implemented effectively as there are no such restrictions in neighbouring states due to which the tobacco-laced chewing products are smuggled in. During the question hour, Food and Drugs Minister Girish Bapat assured the House that steps were being taken to effectively implement the ban.
The issue was raised during Question Hour by Mohammed Arif Naseem Khan of the Congress, who said that despite the ban, gutka is sold in the state, even outside Vidhan Bhavan and sought to know what steps the government was taking in this regard. As many as 1,538 cases of illegal sale of gutka are being tried in the courts. The Food and Drug Administration has started a toll free number through which complaints of illegal sale of gutka can be given, the minister added.
Bapat admitted that despite ban the gutkha being traded from other neighbouring states was being sold in the state. While stating that only the scented beetle nuts, tobacco or lime past were banned and not the simple beetle nuts, tobacco or lime paste, Bapat said the existing section 188 of food security had the provision to give bail within a few hours of the arrest which was leading to ‘no pressure’ on those operating illegally. As many as 1,538 cases of illegal sale of gutka are being tried in the courts. The FDA has started a toll free number through which complaints of illegal sale of gutka can be given, the minister added.