Ban on plastic gutka pouches causing job losses in Kanpur

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Kanpur, Feb 21 (PTI) The ban on sale of tobacco productsin plastic sachets beyond March 1, will severely hit theindustrial city''s Rs 400-crore gutka industry employing about17,000 workers, the trade body said today.

"Kanpur has around 70-80 plastic packaging units whichemploys around 15,000 labourers, the main product to packageis gutka among others," the Chairman of the Kanpur division ofthe Indian Industries Association, Sunil Vaishya told PTIBhasha.

The association is an apex body of small and mediumenterprises in Uttar Pradesh.

On February 18, the Supreme Court had refused to relaxits order banning sale of gutka and pan masala in plasticsachets beyond March one.

The decision came after taking note of government''ssubmission that 90 per cent of oral cancer cases in thecountry are on account of chewing tobacco.

S S Paliwal, an owner of packaging unit, said "we need tocut few jobs as there will be no gutka packaging. So, we can''tafford to give them there salaries".

Besides 15,000 sachet packaging workers the industry hasaround 2,000 technicians, dealers and businessmen.

There are discussions on packaging tobacco products likepan masala and khaini in paper and aluminium foil sachets.

Paliwal said, however, the packaging will become costlierby 40 per cent as it would requisite deployment of newmachines.

Kanpur has around 400 small and medium pan masala, gutka,khaini units, with Pan Parag among the famous brands.

Paliwal said that the apex court''s decision will cause amajor loss and unemployment for the industry which suppliesproducts to other adjoining areas like Lucknow, Varanasi andBundelkhand.

The government was also asked to entrust an independentagency with the task of testing the contents of these sachetsto evaluate the risk they pose to consumers.

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