Nagpur : Following the illegal trade and transport of gutkha, paan masala, flavoured tobacco, flavoured betel nuts and kharra which are banned in Maharashtra, the State Government has decided to cancel the registration of vehicles used for transportation of gutkha and also rescind driving licenses of the drivers driving such vehicles with immediate effect.
The government has informed the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA), police and other agencies to deal strictly with all those engaged in clandestine sale and transportation of gutkha despite ban. According to Shashikant Kekre, Joint Commissioner (Food) FDA Nagpur Division, a meeting of transporters was held at the office of FDA on Wednesday and the transporters were made aware about the decision taken by Maharashtra Government. Sale and consumption of gutkha was banned since July 2012, throughout the State.
In the last budget session of the State legislature, it was announced that sale of gutkha would be made a non-bailable offence and the punishment for the offence would be enhanced to three years, from existing six months.
Kekre said, “We have already communicated to the Regional Transport Office (RTO) to take action against the owners and drivers of the vehicles impounded by us.”
Maharashtra Government has banned production, sale, transport, storage and distribution of gutkha, paan masala and flavoured tobacco as well as betel nuts in the State with effect from July 20, 2018. Still, it was observed that these products were entering in the State with illegal transportation.
The Regional Transport Office has been authorised along with FDA to take action against the transporters. The copies of Government Resolution (GR) were distributed to the transporters, he added. Government has empowered the Transport Officers to conduct checking of vehicles transporting these banned products.
RTO can take action against the vehicles under Section 19 (1) (c) of the Motor vehicle Act 1988 and registration and driving licences of the vehicles carrying the banned items. RTO can check the vehicles on the State boundaries and if these banned products have been found in the vehicle, they can immediately cancel the registration and licence.
Also they can inform Food Safety Officers (FSO) about the seizure, informs a GR. Kekare has appealed to the citizens to inform FDA in case they find production, storage, transportation and distribution of gutkha, paan masala, flavoured tobacco, betel nuts etc. in city and in Vidarbha.