Is the ban on gutkha being properly executed in Andhra Pradesh?
The reply to an application filed under the Right to Information (RTI) Act has revealed that there might be many lacunae in proper implementation of the ban imposed on the selling of gutkha. The reply shows that though the Government Order on the prohibition of the usage or distribution of gutkha imposes strict actions against the violation of the order, most of the cases are either pending or are disposed with small fines.
The reply states that six cases of illegal manufacturing or possessing of gutkhas has been registered in Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh. In one case, only Rs. 2 lakh of fine has been imposed on the accused, from whom gutkha woth Rs. 52 lakh has been seized while in another case gutkha worth Rs. 8,250 has been seized but a fine of Rs. 50,000 has been imposed on the accused. The remaining four cases are still pending with the adjudication officer. The reply also shows that not even a single coordination meeting of different departments has been convened though the Government Order says that the ban on gutkha has to be implemented in coordination with eight departments.
The applicant also alleged that though the GO lays emphasis on sufficient publicity on the ban, the concerned departments have ignored it.