Monday, July 22, 2024

Gudivada turns into hub of banned tobacco products

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Gudivada town has become a hub of banned tobacco products like ‘Gutka’, ‘Jarda’ and ‘Pan Masala’ and foreign cigarettes which are bought illegally from Brahmapur in Odisha state.

Gudivada has earned dubious distinction for a massive illegal business of ‘Gutka’, ‘Pan Masala’ and ‘Jarda’ and also imported cigarettes. Moreover, a huge quantity of liquor is brought from neighbouring Telangana state without paying taxes.

Retail traders are forced to buy tobacco products and sell them. It is alleged that the illegal business of banned tobacco products, imported cigarettes, and liquor was carried out under the guidance of a prominent person in Gudivada town.

According to sources, the banned tobacco products are brought from Brahmapur by Lorries to Gudivada and they are hoarded in three godowns. Later the products are supplied to wholesale and retail traders.

MC Pan Masala 30 sachets are sold at Rs 120, 35 sachets Miraj Jarda sold at Rs 6,500. The banned tobacco products are sent to the rural areas in Kaikaluru, Bantumilli, Pamarru, Gudlavalleru, and Challapalli mandals.

The banned gutka are sent in scooters, mopeds, and auto rickshaws to the pan shops and kiosks located in remote areas. It is learnt that Rs 50 lakh worth of ‘Gutka’ and ‘Jarda’ products were brought from Brahmapur to Gudivada every day.

The organisers sell the products after including huge profits. The illicit traders are earning lakhs of rupees per day by marketing the banned tobacco products in Gudivada constituency and other areas. Foreign cigarettes are being brought through private transport companies from Hyderabad without paying taxes.The customs Commissioner (Preventive) officials recently seized foreign cigarettes worth Rs 8 crore in Vijayawada. Citing the incident as a reason, the traders hiked the foreign cigarette prices to Rs 160 for a 10-cigarette box from Rs 100. The gold Vimal and Gold Step brand cigarettes are sold at Rs 225 for 25 boxes.

The official machinery’s leniency in containing the sale of banned tobacco products and imported cigarettes was criticised by the political parties. The banned tobacco products like Gutka and Jarda are being sold openly in the pan shops and other kiosks. The shop owners hang the string of sachets in front of their shops but the officials maintain silence and hesitate to take action. It is said that a prominent person is backing the illegal business which is why the police maintain silence. The sale of tobacco products was banned by the government since they contain intoxicated and hazardous substances like nicotine.

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