Thursday, April 17, 2014

Letter of Sachin Kumar Agrawal to Ban Gutkha

Dr. S.C.Jamir,
Honourable Governor of Odisha,

Sachin Kumar Agrawal,
Member, Marwari Yuva Manch,
Dharamgarh Branch, Kalahandi, Odisha.

[Sub:  Ban on Gutkha & Chewing Tobacco]

Date: 14th April 2014

Respected Sir,
The Government of Odisha on 1st January 2013 announced a state-wide ban on the manufacture, sale and use of gutkha and chewing tobacco containing nicotine. The then Minister of Health and Family Welfare Sri Damodar Rout appealed the people to cooperate with the state government in making Odisha a tobacco-free state. Subsequently, the official notification regarding the ban came up on 3rd January 2013.
Odisha was the 15th state during this announcement and as of now almost all the states and Union Territories in the country have banned the use of gutkha and chewing tobacco under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 & Food Safety and Standards Rules, 2011.

Use of gutkha and chewing tobacco leads to Oral Cancer and other severe health problems.  Excessive use of these products leads to loss of appetite, promotes unusual sleep patterns and contributes to loss of concentration in daily life. Problems are many, Profit is null.  

According to the 2009-2010 survey by Global Adult Tobacco Sruvey, 53.5% of Indians use tobacco products of which 48.07% figures for chewing tobacco while the rest accounts for bidi, cigarette and other variants.

Although it’s almost a year and three months since notification, no considerable steps have been taken by the State Government in curbing the use of such disastrous products. These products are easily available in the market and one can, without much effort, have access to it. It seems that the manufacturers, distributors and sellers have no fear of the law of the land and thus have bypassed it without much endeavor.

Health indicators in Odisha are not that satisfactory and a strict ban on these products can contribute exceptionally in improving the health status of the state. There is provision of strict punishment in case of violation of FSSA and COTPA acts, but everything seems to go in vain.

Just like gutkha and chewing tobacco, smoking cigarettes and bidis also contribute significantly to negative health status. It is being regulated by COTPA (Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003. However, the regulation has been unsatisfactory and unacceptable.

It should be kept in mind that proper rehabilitation steps also be taken for all those entities who are dependent on sale of such products for their livelihood. Care must be taken to ensure that such people are not left unemployed after the strict ban of the products.

I, as a responsible citizen of the country, request you to direct the state government to take up the issue seriously and impose a strict ban on the Guthka and its variants both in manufacture and sale and take up rehabilitation programs wherever necessary.

I am attaching the Global Adult Tobacco Survey Report 0f 2009-2010 (I could not find the latest report. Please consider the latest report if it has been released.)

Also the official notification of the Government of Odisha regarding the issue has been attached.

I sincerely hope that you will, at the earliest, consider the issue and take appropriate steps.

Thank You.

Sachin Kumar Agrawal
Member, Marwari Yuva Manch,
Dharamgarh , Kalahandi, Odisha – 766015.

Contact Details:
Mobile:  09861965410

Copy To (Via Mail):

1.    Shri Pranab Mukherjee, President of India.
2.    Food Safety and Standards Authority of India
3.    Department of Health and Family Welfare,  Government of Odisha
.    Shri Bijay Ketan Uppadhyay, Collector Kalahandi.
5.    Shri Lala M. K. Ray, Sub-Collector, Dharamgarh Sub-Division. 

No comments: