The state may well be witnessing the last of gutkha and paan sales in the days to come, if the NCP is successful in its latest endeavour to ban the products.
To implement the announcement made by Deputy CM Ajit Pawar during a party function on June 10, the Food and Drug Administration headed by NCP’s Minister Manohar Naik is operating on full steam, in order to make the proposition a reality within the next two days.
“We hope to issue a one year ban as per the provisions in the Food Safety Act 2006 within a day or two, as the proposal has already been approved by the Finance Department,” Naik said on Wednesday.
To speed up the proposal, the FDA prepared two separate files and moved them simultaneously before the Finance department headed by Ajit Pawar and the Law and Judiciary department headed by CM Prithviraj Chavan.
According to Naik, the state is set to lose Rs 98 crore from taxes levied on gutkha and paan masala.“After the FDA’s approval, we are now waiting for the law and judiciary department’s go ahead. We are also hopeful that since the authority to issue the ban rests well within the purview of the FDA Commissioner, there is no need to go before the state cabinet,” Naik said.
“If that is not required, the orders on banning will be issued within two days. We have sought the opinion of the law and judiciary department on the issue,” he added.
The state governments of Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, and Bihar have already banned the sale and manufacture of gutkha in recent months.
Dy CM Ajit Pawar said that the government was ready to the forgo the Rs 100 crore revenue income it receives as taxes from the sale of gutkha to save younger generations.
“The addiction is becoming more serious with each passing day,” he had said while speaking before the women’s wing of the NCP.