Bowing to the pressure of powerful lobby of the billion-dollar, the Himachal Pradesh government has deferred the implementation of its call to ban within the state. The order banning gutka was issued 5 days ago.
whereas attending the Northern Zonal Council meeting in Chandigarh on Friday, chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal had hurridely asked the officers to issue a notification banning gutka. The orders were issued on July thirteen and also the call was welcomed even by the opposition.
Interestingly, on Monday the govt set to defer the ban until October 2 to ‘help retailers’ to exhaust the stock. The retailers had asked the state government to defer the ban until their stocks last. it’s learnt that the gutka lobby, rather involving itself on to pressurise the govt to defer the ban, has used the retailers. the govt caved in to the pressure fearing loss of votes in assembly elections scheduled in October.
The state government earns a sizeable chunk of its revenue from the sale of gutka and tobacco merchandise. the maximum amount as eighteen per cent VAT is charged on tobacco merchandise that is that the highest as compared to alternative things. Shimla alone sells gutka price Rs 1.5 lakh a day.
As per a recent health survey conducted within the state faculties, over thirty per cent faculty students chew gutka and also the state is adding 2000 new cancer patients each year. Though the state government has already banned smoking at public places, the consumption of gutka, paan masala, zarda, khaini has become widespread.