The ban on sale of gutka and pan masala will be strictly imposed in Tuticorin district from Friday.

The District Monitoring Committee, led by Collector Ashish Kumar, convened a meeting here with officials of Food Safety, police personnel and other departments to effectively act against those indulging in the illegal sale of the banned commodities.

The Collector said Chief Minister Jayalalithaa had formally announced the ban in the Assembly session on May 8, 2013 and Commissioner of Tamil Nadu Food Safety and Drug Administration, Kumar Jayant notified the ban in the gazette with effect from May 23, 2013. The ban was effective in 24 States and three Union Territories across India.

Initially, shopkeepers if found storing the product, would be instructed to remove it and warning notices would be issued until June 22. The banned items, if found in shops beyond the stipulated period, would be seized and destroyed as per instructions of Food Safety Standards Act. The committee comprising Food Safety officers, corporation authority, police personnel, transport authority, departments of Health and Education would be involved in conducting raids at public places, he said.

Commercial tax department would also join the committee to carry out mobile-checks. He also added that officials should not harass shop owners under any circumstances but continue to ensure that Tuticorin remains gutka-free district.

Citing the ill effects of chewing gutka and pan masala, M. Jegadeesh Chandrabose, District Designated Officer, Food Safety and Standards Act, said all organs of the body were affected. Gutka, he said was a composition of 700 to 4,000 chemical products and fatality due to the use of this product in the world is about 2.5 million to 3 million according to a World Health Organisation report.