Khurda: In a major crackdown, teams from the STF and Begunia police busted a duplicate zarda (tobacco) manufacturing unit following a joint raid carried out at Beguniapada village in Khurda district on Saturday. One person has been detained for questioning.
Sources said huge quantities of tobacco worth lakhs of rupees and other manufacturing articles, labels and empty cans of various brands have been seized during the raid conducted by the STF squad led by inspector Ashok Kumar Giri and the local police. One Manas Prusti who was present in the unit has been detained for further investigation.
In another raid conducted at a shop in neighbouring Pichukula, the STF and Begunia police recovered large quantities of packed duplicate tobacco meant for sale.
IIC of Begunia police station Rashmi Ranjan Sahu said," While continuing searches at different places, another STF team led by inspector Sunita Pradhan and the Begunia police recovered huge quantities of duplicate zarda from a shop in Pichukula. The owner of the shop, Manoj Kumar Sahu, has been detained for questioning."
It is not for the first time police/STF busted duplicate tobacco manufacturing units in Odisha.
In fact, after Bhadrak and Jajpur now Khurda has emerged as a hub for manufacturing and distribution of counterfeit tobacco products in the State, thereby raising serious question marks over police surveillance and public safety as well.
According to the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS), more than 43 per cent of population in Odisha use chewing tobacco in one form or other. The state also has high cancer instances which can be directly attributed to tobacco consumption.
Over 10,000 new oral cancer patients are admitted to hospitals every year in Odisha. Given this background, the increasing market of duplicate tobacco production has become a huge concern for health officials and public health in general.