Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, today, announced deferment of ban on ‘Gutkha’ and other tobacco products till October 2, 2012. The decision was taken by the Chief Minister on the appeal of a delegation of retailers from different parts of the State who called on him under the leadership of Suresh Bhardwaj, MLA, here today.

Chief Minister thanked the people and traders in the State for their overwhelming support in making ban on use of recycled and plastic carry bags a success which had made Himachal Pradesh a role model in environment protection even beyond the national boundaries. He said that the State Government had always been considerate towards the interests of petty traders and had brought them under the fold of insurance so that their interests were protected. He said that the decision to impose ban on ‘Gutka’and ‘Tobacco’ products had been taken in view of saving the young people from getting addicted to use of such products. He said that reports had been pouring in from different quarters that youth were falling prey to some anti-social elements and they were misleading youth towards addiction.

Prof. Dhumal said that strict vigilance was being maintained on sale of tobacco products to young children. He said that since the stockists in the State had urged the State Government for granting some time to exhaust the stock available with them and accordingly keeping in view the interests of the retailers it had been decided to defer the ban on ‘Gutka’ and tobacco products till October 2, 2012, which would be the last date where after the ban would come into force and sale of all such products banned completely all over the State.

Suresh Bhardwaj, MLA, thanked the Chief Minister for extending the date of banning sale of ‘Gutka’ and other Tobacco products in the State. He said that petty retailers had invested in purchasing the stock for sale and were solely dependant for their sustenance on daily sale. He said that the extended period would help them diversify their trading activities to compensate the sale proceeds by the time ban on such products would come into force.

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