10 years imprisonment for ‘gutkha’ possession or sale in Maharashtra
Possessing or selling ‘gutkha’ may soon be a non-bailable offence with a provision to send offender into 3-5 years of rigorous imprisonment besides closing HIS pan kiosk for a longer period.
Shockingly, despite ban on Gutkha, the state’s food and drugs administration has confiscated the stock from over 3418 pan kiosks in the state worth over Rs 47.77 crore since July 2012. Bapat told the Legislative Assembly on Tuesday that the government was taking steps to enforce the ban strictly.
Bapat admitted that despite ban the gutka being traded from other neighbouring states was being sold in the state. While stating that only the scented beetle nuts, tobacco or lime past were banned and not the simple beetle nuts, tobacco-laced chewing products are smuggled in.
The issue was raised during Question Hour by Mohammed Arif Naseem Khan of Congress, who said that despite the ban, gutka is sold in the state even outside Vidhan Bhawan and sought to know what steps the government was taking in this regard.
Bapat said 72,000 shops have been searched and gutka worth Rs 32 crore has been seized so far. Mangal Prabhat Lodha of BJP sought to know if the license of shops where gutka is sold would be cancelled.