The Uttar Pradesh government is seriously contemplating banning ‘gutka’ and ‘paan masala’. The state’s legal department has been asked to work on the proposal. On Wednesday, Uttar Pradesh Advocate General S.P. Gupta told the Allahabad High Court during the hearing of a public interest litigation that the state was seriously exploring the option of a ban. The government was never so serious as it is now, a senior official said. The PIL was filed by the Indian Dental Association (IDA) seeking a ban on the sale of chewing tobacco in the state. In its affidavit, the government sought time to deliberate and decide on the matter.
Three paan masala makers have also filed an application seeking to be made respondents in the case. The next date of hearing is Aug 1. The IDA has also written to the central government, asking it to invoke the Food Safety and Standards Act of 2011 against the sale of ‘paan masala’ and ‘gutka’. Most of these products in the state are made in Saharanpur, Kanpur, Kannauj and Mainpuri. If UP does ban ‘gutka’, they will be the second state to do so after Madhya Pradesh banned the sale of tobacco-mixed ‘gutka’ in April. Experts say that one out of three cancer cases are caused due to tobacco usage!