The state government of Maharashtra has imposed a ban on the production, sale, distribution and storage of gutkha and paan masala in the state.
The decision to ban the tobacco based products was taken at a meeting chaired by Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan. According to some state officials, the ban will result in a loss of Rs 100 crore per year in lost revenues for the state government, but the ban has been imposed keeping in mind the larger public interest.
The ban in the state comes after similar bans were imposed in Kerala and Madhya Pradesh. Several states are moving to ban the production, sale, distribution and storage tobacco based products after they were found to be reason behind oral diseases such as cancer.
The state government had imposed a similar ban in 2002 and 2008 but the decision could not pass legal hurdles and the products were available. Now the ban has been imposed under the Food Safety and Standards
(Prohibition and Restriction on Sale) Regulation, 2011.
"Our chief concern is to safeguard people's health. Financial loss is secondary and will be taken care of through other measures in the budget. Youngsters cannot be allowed to become victims of cancer by getting addicted to gutka," said Maharashtra finance minister and deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar.