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Banned tobacco products seized from stalls at Sangai Festival

by IT Web Admin
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Despite Government strictures and tight security frisking at the entry gate, some stalls and women vendors were found openly selling banned tobacco products inside the ongoing Manipur Sangai Festival being held Hapta Kangjeibung.Open selling of such banned tobacco products inside the state’s biggest annual tourism festival has arisen a question on the state security personals’ integrity in their security measures that such people dealing with banned tobacco products are provided scot free by the police at the cost of bribery. Following an information, a team of Food Safety Officer led by Th Sunilkumar yesterday conducted a surprise drive at the stalls set up at Manipur Sangai festival and seized several tobacco products including Khaini pouches, packets of Zarda, Talab.The State Government earlier declared ban on stocking and sale of tobacco products in the State since February this year. Since then, different agencies of the state Government have been working to enforce the ban effectively.In line with this, Government issued orders asking the stall owners of Manipur Sangai festival 2014 not to sell any tobacco products like Khaini, Zarda, Pan Masala and Talab. Despite Government orders, some stalls set up at the Sangai festival were found selling the illegal products when the staff of the Food safety officer Manipur carried out a surprise drive against the stalls.The team of Food safety officer also detected many food stalls/outlets selling food products to the people visiting to witness Sangai festival without displaying valid food License issued by the Health department and without obeying the guidelines issued by the health department. Stall owners were strictly warned of obeying the guidelines and to sell eatables with displaying the food License.Speaking to IMPHAL TIMES, Food Safety officer Th Sunilkumar said that the tobacco products seized today would be disposed off publicly by setting them ablaze.He further said that Smokeless tobacco products like Khaini, Zarda, Talab and Pan Masala severely affect human health in terms of oral cancer. State cabinet has earlier banned such products in the state under Food Safety and standard act 2006. If the stalls are again found selling such illegal products during next drive, they will be expelled from the Festival by cancelling stall License without further warning, he said.  Despite the validity of Food License issued to the Food Outlets, Hotels and Restaurants have expired on February this year, most of the Hotel Owners have not come to office for renewal of their License, he said and warned the Food Outlets and Hotels to renew their food License on time failing of which may compel the Food Safety office to initiate legal action against them including cancellation of License.According to the Food Safety Rules, the apprehended tobacco dealers may be fined up to Rs one lakh. The Act has clear provisions to imprison or impose fine on people who are found dealing in banned tobacco products, he said.

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