Prem Kumar Dhumal, chief minister, Himachal Pradesh, has announced deferment of ban on gutkha and other tobacco products till October 2, 2012. The decision was taken by the chief minister on the appeal of a delegation of retailers from different parts of the state who called on him under the leadership of Suresh Bhardwaj, MLA.
Dhumal said that the decision to impose ban on gutkha and tobacco products had been taken in view of saving the young people from getting addicted to use of such products. He said that reports had been pouring in from different quarters that youth were falling prey to some anti-social elements and they were misleading youth towards addiction. The ban has been effected under the Food Safety & Standards Act, 2006. The state of Maharashtra has imposed a similar ban recently.
Dhumal said that strict vigilance was being maintained on sale of tobacco products to children. He said that since the stockists in the state had urged the state government for granting some time to exhaust the stock available with them and accordingly keeping in view the interests of the retailers it had been decided to defer the ban on gutkha and tobacco products till October 2, 2012, which would be the last date where-after the ban would come into force and sale of all such products banned completely all over the state.
Bhardwaj thanked the chief minister for extending the date. He said that petty retailers had invested in purchasing the stock for sale and were solely dependant for their sustenance on daily sale. He said that the extended period would help them diversify their trading activities to compensate the sale proceeds by the time ban on such products would come into force.