Maharashtra government to enact strict law to stop gutkha sale: Minister
Mumbai: Maharashtra government is planning to enact a tough law to completely stop the sale of gutkha, state Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Minister Girish Bapat today said.
At present, non-bailable cases are being filed against the guilty who defy the gutkha ban in the state, but the government wants to completely stop the sale of gutka, Bapat said in the Legislative Assembly here while replying on the issue during the Question Hour.
He said that opinion of the law and judiciary department is being sought in this regard.
Independent legislator Bachu Kadu displayed gutka packets in the House saying that despite the ban, gutkha is easily available even in the Vidhan Bhavan premises.
The seizure of gutka worth lakhs of rupees during a recent raid in Thane district was raised by NCP group leader Jayant Patil.
The minister said that the owner of the godown was arrested and granted bail after 20 days.
Admitting that illegal manufacture and sale of gutkha was still on in the state, Bapat said so far gutka worth Rs 50 crore has been seized in raids.
Despite the ban on manufacture, gutkha is smuggled from other states. The Maharashtra government will write to the neighbouring states on the issue, he said.
Speaker Haribhau Bagde disapproved Bachu Kadu’s action of bringing gutkha packets on the floor of the House.
Former Speaker Dilip Walse Patil (NCP) said possessing gutkha is also a crime.
Leader of Opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil said gutkha is easily available in the vicinity of schools and colleges.