Rashmi Rekha Das

Berhampur police on Thursday raided gutkha manufacturing units at several places and seized huge quanity of gutkha, raw materials and machinery from the units.

According to sources, Golanthara police carried out raids at two houses in Otonagar and seized huge amount of gutkha on Wednesday night. On Thursday morning, police again raided and seized a large amount of gutkha being manufactured under Krishna and Radha brands.

Intensifying its drive against gutkha manufacturing units in the city, police also raided gutkha company, Gopalji. Tirumala Industries on National Highway was also raided by police. Six buildings used by Tirumala Industries were manufacturing pan masla apart from packing them. However, the proprietor of Tirumala Industries gave police a slip.

Notably, police had conducted massive raids at six such units owned by Tirumala Industries in 2016 and seized gutkha, pan masla and machinery worth crore of rupees.

Police intensified its raid after a tip off conforming it has again started gutkha and pan masla business.

Sub-divisional police officer Siba Sankar Mohapatra said, “We came to know a huge quantity of gutkha has been amassed at a godown located at Binayak Bhawan. Narayan Sahu and his partner were running this unit. While Narayan is on the run, his partner was arrested. As many as 26 sacks of gutkha and machinery have been seized from the godown.”

Supervisor of the godown M Brahmam said, “Police had conducted similar kind of raid in 2016. They sealed it after not finding anything from it.”

A series of police raids made it clear that Berhampur is a major centre for manufacture and trading of illegal gutka and pan masala in Odisha.