The food safety and drug administration department on Saturday destroyed 2.6 tonnes of tobacco products confiscated in various parts of the city in the past few weeks.
The banned products seized from areas such as Wall Tax Road and Ayanavaram were destroyed following guidelines of Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) after permission from Corporation commissioner Vikram Kapur. TNPCB had given guidelines on the safe disposal of the products in a 12-foot-deep pit filled with urea and cow dung. The plastic packaging of the products was removed earlier.
However, 16 tonnes of chewable tobacco products seized from Central Railway Station on August 3 by the food safety and drug administration department is yet to be destroyed. The products were transported by a train from Nizamuddin. Ever since the ban on the manufacture, storage, distribution and sale of carcinogenic chewable forms of tobacco such as gutka and pan masala was announced in May, trains and buses have been used to smuggle these products into the State. Recently, several banned tobacco products found their way into retail outlets in the city.
Following crackdowns on commercial establishments across the city, the sale of gutka and pan masala has reduced considerably. However, many wholesalers continue to store them in residential complexes, selling them to regular customers.
The seized products stored in Central Railway Station are likely to be destroyed at the dumping yard next week.
Food safety officials plan to intensify an awareness drive among food business operators and disseminate information on the ban.