FDA to watch bus, rail passengers to stem gutkha flow into state

Jan 31, 2013, 08:46 IST | A Correspondent

Pune Food and Drug Administration officials form 11 teams to check parcels being brought in on buses from states that have not banned product; teams will also keep an eye on rail passengers

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Pune, has formed 11 teams to keep a watch on gutkha consignments entering the city via buses. In the backdrop of the gutkha ban in the state, the FDA is working on straight measures to ensure such consignments are intercepted before reaching the market.

Tighter than ever: As gutkha products are not banned in Karnataka, the FDA plans to keep a strict vigil on vehicles plying on these routes, as well as buses coming from other states. File Pic

Doing the drill
Each team includes two Food Safety Officers (FSO), who will check parcels being brought in by buses. “Buses, including government and private vehicles, may be used to transport gutkha into the city. In order to keep a check on this, we are deploying FSOs at various bus stands to check for suspicious consignments. We have formed teams, each with two FSOs, to work on rotation-basis,” SS Desai, assistant commissioner FDA (Food), Pune, said.

With the strong possibility of gutkha entering the state from Karnataka (where these products have not been banned), the FDA plans to keep a strict vigil on vehicles plying on these routes, as well as from other states.

A known issue
“There are more chances of gutkha entering the state from Karnataka, so we are concentrating on these routes,” Desai said. The FDA is not only checking public transport terminals and private bus terminals, but also unaccompanied parcels and those being carried by passengers on buses. “Our FSOs will also watch rail passengers to ensure they are not transporting gutkha,” Desai said.

Recent busts
The FDA has filed FIRs against three persons in the city for storing gutkha and has seized products worth Rs 9,98,800.  Gutkha worth Rs 84,420 was seized from Sohan Traders at Warje Malwadi, which was being stored in a flat-cum-store in Bhimpark area. Gutkha worth Rs 15,240 was seized from Hanuman Traders and Rs 220 worth from Vijay Stores in Bhosari. 

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