From a Correspondent
Tezpur, Sept 2: Currently, sale, manufacture and storage of pan masala and gutka containing tobacco and nicotine have been banned, under the Food Safety and Standards (Prohibition and Restriction on Sales) Regulation, 2011.
However despite this, a massive smuggling market of gutka and other smokeless tobacco is in full scale operation at Tezpur in Sonitpur District, as evidenced by empty gutka packets scattered on streets and lanes. It is mentioble here that, both manufacturers and users have found ways to outsmart the ban. Around 60 per cent respondents using tobacco in its smokeless and smokable form reported purchasing ingredients separately and combining or mixing their own gutka. Mixing tobacco with paan masala and zarda or such innovations are adversely affecting the purpose and impact of the ban.
Local people have alleged that, a massive smuggling market of gutka and smokeless tobacco is being run by three deceitful businessmen, who go by the alias of 3G at Tezpur. They supply gutka and other forms of smokeless tobacco to the neighbouring state Aruchal Pradesh too, adding further that north east has become a distribution centre for the rest of the country for cheap smuggled gutka and other smokeless tobacco and cigarettes origiting in the neighbouring countries. All these smuggled tobacco are transported from Assam and other Northeastern states to the rest of the country by air, bus and train.