Leniency for gutkha ban violators

It has been 10 days since the city government issued a notification to ban gutkha across the Capital prescribing a six-month imprisonment or a fine of Rs 1 lakh for its violation, but no body has been booked so far.

According to the food and supplies department, responsible for carrying out the raids, several teams of officials are raiding the shops, but the first-time offenders have been let off.

“It is not that we have not caught paan and cigarette shop owners engaged in selling gutkha in the last few days but we have been a little lenient as the offenders were not aware about the ban,” said an official of the department.

“However, this will not be tolerated anymore.” The official added that the government is planning to start an awareness drive advertising ban on gutkha. The city government on September 12 banned the sale, purchase, manufacture, storage and transport of gutkha.

But it continues to sell in various parts of the city, especially in the border areas. On Friday evening, a paan shop owner outside a mall at Mayur Vihar provided the customer with gutkha. He had kept the product inside a scooter parked away from his shop.

“Policemen know but not the food department people. I pay police for the favour. I have to feed my children. You can understand,” said the owner when asked how he has been managing to sell it despite the ban.

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