Shops selling banned tobacco products will be closed, says Corporation Commissioner Gagandeep Singh Bedi

Seeking cooperation: Corporation Commissioner Gagandeep Singh Bedi, Police Commissioner Shankar Jiwal and other officials chairing the meeting on Friday.  

Top officials of the Greater Chennai Corporation, the Food Safety Department and the Greater Chennai Police met traders’ representatives in the city on Friday for effective implementation of the ban on the sale of tobacco products, such as gutka, pan masala and ‘mava’.

Chennai Corporation Commissioner Gagandeep Singh Bedi, Food and Drug Administration Department Commissioner A. Sivagnanam and City Police Commissioner Shankar Jiwal participated in the meeting.

Instructions were issued to traders for the effective implementation of the law under which the State had banned these products in 2013.

Mr. Bedi told reporters that the meeting was held as per the instruction of Chief Minister M.K. Stalin to prevent the illegal sale of the banned tobacco products. “In a phased manner, we are going to take steps to prevent transport, storage and sale in retail outlets...,” he said.

Mr. Sivagnanam said, “Manufacture, storage, transport, distribution or sale of gutka and pan masala products have been prohibited under the Food Safety Act. We have sensitised the laws and the punishment to the traders. They have agreed to cooperate with the government and law enforcement officials.” It was also decided to act in a coordinated manner to ensure the products are completely eradicated and the provisions of laws effectively implemented.

Mr. Jiwal said there was no ban on chewable tobacco products in neighbouring States. “We have profiled the origin of these products from other States. They are being smuggled on vehicles carrying vegetables or other goods or on trains. We are going to tighten enforcement. We are going to propose an increase in the fines on offenders and confiscation of vehicles. Goondas Act will be invoked against main suppliers.”

Mr. Bedi said around 73,000 trade licences were issued to shops in the city. Of them, at least 20,000 were grocery and tea shops, which might be used for selling these items. “We have told the traders’ representatives that small traders should not buy these products and sell them, and if they do so, their shops will be closed.” He said people could dial 1913 to pass on information on the illegal sale of tobacco products.

Mr. Sivagnanam said members of the public could also dial 94440 42322 to report violations.

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Printable version | Sep 25, 2021 3:04:20 AM |

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