Consumption of gutkha is now legal in State. Not just that, even manufacturing and distribution of this chewable tobacco product does not amount to any kind of violation, thanks to the State government’s reluctance in extending a ban on these products.
As per a Government Order issued by the Chief Secretary, the usage or distribution of gutkha was prohibited in the State with effect from January 10, 2013 till a period of one year under Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006. However, there seems to be no move to extend it.
“This is a grave issue concerning public health as gutkha and its related products are known to cause cancer and other serious ailments. Gutkha is banned in 23 States in the country, but our State government is taking its own time to extend the ban or implement it,” said former I.F.S. officer and secretary of Forum for Good Governance, M. Padmanabha Reddy. He has written to the Chief Secretary demanding that the ban be extended. Mr. Reddy, who procured information under RTI relating to the implementation of the ban, criticised the administration for being indifferent to the issue.