Odisha slaps blanket ban on gutkha products

Bhubaneswar: Two days after Health and Family Welfare Minister Damodar Rout announced state-wide gutkha ban, the Odisha government on Friday issued a notification slapping such ban on manufacture, sale and use of gutkha in the state.
The government invoked Regulation 2.3.4 of the Food Safety and Standards (Prohibition and Restrictions on Sales) Regulation-2011, to effect the ban on manufacture, storage, sale and distribution of gutkha and panmasala containing tobacco or nicotine as ingredients.
"I appeal to people to co-operate with the state government to make Odisha a tobacco-free state," Rout had said.
Replying to queries of newsmen the minister however had said that the government was yet to take any decision on use of cigarette though smoking in public places is banned, adding it would take up a massive awareness campaign to persuade people to give up tobacco products.
Industry experts however opined that mere banning of gutkha would not serve any purpose and the state government has to come up with a proper implementation strategy.
By doing so, Odisha became 15th state in India to ban the product. While union territory Chandigarh has also effected a ban on it, Kerala recently banned pan masala and gutkha containing tobacco under the Food Safety and Standards (Prohibition and Restriction on Sales) Regulation, 2011.
Last month Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy had written a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh requesting for a country-wide ban on gutkha.
The states those have already banned gutkha include Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, Bihar, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Haryana, Chhatisgarh, Jharkhand, Mizoram, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh, Punjab and Goa.