Kota: Barely two weeks after the state banned pan masala and flavoured supari, the sale of these items continue unabated here. Officials, however, claimed that they were carrying out raids to control the sale of these items.
“I have only heard of the ban, but it has not affected sale of flavoured supari and guthka as I continue to supply around 7,000-8,000 pouches of these items to shops and stalls across the city,” said Hanuman, a vendor in Bundi city. Till date, he has not faced any raids by officials for selling pouches of the banned supari, he claimed, adding that retailers have used the opportunity to fleece customers under the pretext of the ban.
“No government official visited our area to inspect the sale and purchase of supari and gutkha pouches,” said Ghanshyam Nama, who runs a pan masala and general commodity stall at Chittor Circle in Bundi.
“The department has continuously been conducting raids and collecting samples as per guidelines. However, no action has been taken so far as the reports of the collected samples have not been received,” CMHO (Kota) Dr BS Tanwar said. Samples for test can only be collected from spots where a minimum of 2kg pan masala and supari pouches are stored, he said.
The medical officials in the region admitted that the sale and purchase of the banned flavoured supari has not stopped but people fear raids in both urban as well as rural areas,” CMHO (Jhalawar) Dr Sajeed Khan said. Notices to the concerned traders and suppliers regarding the ban have been served in the district. Regular raids would be carried out after October 15, he added.
Shopkeepers and sellers flee away from their shops as soon as teams reach for inspection.
“I had to purchase pouches for high price only for two days after the ban but now it is available at its usual price,” a housemaid said, who claims to chew at least three to four pouches of supari mixed with flavoured tobacco.
It may be noted that according to a survey, the ratio of men and women who consume tobacco in Hadauti, comprising Kota, Bundi, Jhalawar and Baran districts, stands at 1:1 as against the national ratio of 5:1. Chewing of flavoured supari mixed with flavoured tobacco is highly prevalent among low working class women and young girls.