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Sacks of gutka worth Rs 1 cr lying in FDA office

Thanks to the lengthy procedure the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is required to follow before it destroys the seized gutka packets, its officials have been left in the lurch.

Food and Drug Administration Joint Commissioner ,Suresh Deshmukh points at the mound of seized gutka packets at the FDA office in BKC yesterday
Stocks rising: Food and Drug Administration Joint Commissioner (Food) Suresh Deshmukh points at the mound of seized gutka packets at the FDA office in BKC yesterday. Pics/Shadab Khan

It has been learnt that numerous sacks containing gutka packets worth Rs 1 crore are lying at the FDA office in Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC) since July.

The officials have written to around 40 wholesalers, from whom the gutka was seized, asking them to pay a destruction fee to the BMC so that its authorities can dispose of the material safely.

FDA Joint Commissioner
FDA Joint Commissioner (Food) Suresh Deshmukh in his office

The FDA has already approached civic authorities, requesting them to dispose of the growing stock of gutka at one of BMC’s dumping grounds, and have sought Deonar dumping ground for the same.

Confirming that destruction of gutka packets will take time, FDA Joint Commissioner (Food) Suresh Deshmukh said, “Gutka stock has been seized from 40 people. These people will have to pay the BMC for dumping the seized gutka packets only then the destruction process will start.

The destruction process will take place in presence of FDA, BMC and police officials. Till then, we won’t be able to destroy these packets. We are hoping that these companies come forward and give an application to destroy their products.”

But an FDA official said it was unlikely that people will pay to see their own products getting destroyed, especially when they had invested crores in them. “This procedure will definitely not work,” he said.

Some of the reports in media suggested that FDA would have to submit an application and pay a disposal fee for disposing gutka in a city dump yard. 

 

Did you know?
Since the ban on sale, manufacture, consumption and stocking of gutka and paan masala was introduced in July by the state government, FDA authorities seized tobacco products worth Rs 10 crore in the last two months. It is one of the biggest seizures in the country. In fact, of the 13 states that have banned gutka, Maharashtra is the only one to have reported such a massive haul.

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