Food Safety Wing zeroes in on lorry booking offices that supply the products to places in southern districts
During intensive raids conducted across the city in the last three days, the Food Safety Wing has detected an illegal network through which banned tobacco products were being supplied to various southern districts from here.
The inspection teams stumbled upon a major supply chain which has been operating by using lorry booking offices as supply points thereby evading the food safety officials who normally carry out raids in retail and wholesale shops.
Large cartons of banned tobacco products such as ‘pan parak’ were seized at lorry booking offices situated on East Veli Street in the city and also some quantities from houses at Villapuram, Kaithari Nagar and T.Kallupatti, official sources told The Hindu on Sunday.
Food safety inspectors led by J.Suguna, Designated Officer for Food Safety, undertook inspection in 20 lorry parcel booking offices at East Veli Street from 12’o clock midnight till 3 a.m. on Friday. At least, four lorry offices were actively involved in transporting huge boxes containing consumable tobacco products despite the ban imposed by the State Government.
“We have seized tobacco products worth Rs.5 lakh from lorry godowns but the staff there was not forthcoming to provide details on who booked the parcel. The modus operandi to supply banned tobacco needs more investigation,” she said.
After informing District Collector L.Subramanian about the seizure, the food safety inspectors destroyed the tobacco products.
The lorry parcel connection was traced to Virudhunagar, Sivakasi, Ponamaravathi, Salem and Kanyakumari.
Inspecting teams suspect that large stocks of ‘pan parak’ and other such chewable tobacco products might have been stocked in the houses of retail shop owners in the city’s outskirts.
Dr.Suguna has said that the district administration had already formed a coordination committee comprising representatives from various departments, including the police, to implement the ban and take the violators to task.