Uttar Pradesh decides to ban Gutka in the state with effect from April
1, 2013, say officials. The decision is based on the Food Safety Act
passed by parliament.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav Wednesday directed officials to implement the ban from next year keeping in mind the interests of lakhs of workers and industrialists engaged in manufacturing gutka (tobacco-laced areca nut pieces), the official added.
The state government had been hesitant to implement the ban and earlier many meetings at the chief secretary level were postponed, apparently under pressure from the Gutka industry.
It was, however, after the Allahabad High Court's tough stand last month that the decision on the ban was expedited, officials said.
The high court Sep 18 had directed the government to clear its stand within two weeks on banning gutka in Uttar Pradesh and warned that if it failed to act then the court would itself slap a ban.
The directives had come from a bench of Justices Amar Sharan and Anurag Kumar while hearing a petition by the Uttar Pradesh chapter of the Indian Dental Association, contending that the consumption of gutka was detrimental to health and hence should be banned.
The matter will now come up for hearing Oct 10.
Uttar Pradesh accounts for the maximum oral cancer cases, largely due to chewing tobacco products like gutka, according to doctors.
The government was under considerable pressure to defer the decision, as the main gutka manufacturing areas included Kanpur, Kannauj and Mainpuri -- the last two being the bastions of the Yadav family.