HC Sounds Govt on Pan Masala

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SRINAGAR: J&K High Court  has directed the state government to file response on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking ban on gutka in the Kashmir valley. 

The PIL filed by Jammu and Kashmir Voluntary Health and Development Association has sought ban on manufacture, sale, storage and distribution of gutka, Panmasala and other forms of chewing tobacco containing nicotine ingredients in the state. 

A division bench comprising Justices Virender Singh and Muzaffar Hussain Attar asked the government to file objections to the PIL seeking implementation of the Regulation of FSSAI on gutka and other smokeless products in the state. 

The PIL filed through counsel Sajad Geelani is seeking ban on the tobacco products in keeping with the Food Safety and Standards (Prohibition and Restriction on sales) Regulation 2011 in the interest of public health. 

“The smokeless form of tobacco contains deadly chemicals which are major causes of mouth as well as throat cancer,” it said, adding the products contain nicotine, as delineated under new regulations notified by Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI). 

It further said in keeping with the health hazards of the smokeless chewable tobacco products, 14 states in the country including Delhi have banned gutka under provisions of FSSAI. 

These states have banned the manufacture, storage, sale, transportation and display or distribution of gutka and pan masalas containing tobacco or nicotine whatever name they may be called. 

Stating that the J&K government has not taken any action on implementation of FSSAI guidelines despite a committee being in place, the PIL said the states having banned production, sale and distribution of the products like gutka and other pan masalas have huge populations involved in its cultivation, manufacture and trade which is not the case in Jammu and Kashmir. 

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