Ban on plastic gutka pouches causing job losses in Kanpur

The ban on sale of tobacco products in plastic sachets beyond March 1, will severely hit the industrial city`s Rs 400-crore gutka industry employing about 17,000 workers, the trade body said on Monday.

Last Updated: Feb 21, 2011, 18:27 PM IST

Kanpur: The ban on sale of tobacco products
in plastic sachets beyond March 1, will severely hit the
industrial city`s Rs 400-crore gutka industry employing about
17,000 workers, the trade body said on Monday.

"Kanpur has around 70-80 plastic packaging units which
employees around 15,000 labourers, the main product to package
is gutka among others," the Chairman of the Kanpur division of
the Indian Industries Association, Sunil Vaishya said to a news agency
Bhasha.

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

On February 18, the Supreme Court had refused to relax
its order banning sale of gutka and pan masala in plastic
sachets beyond March one.

The decision came after taking note of government`s
submission that 90 per cent of oral cancer cases in the
country are on account of chewing tobacco.

SS Paliwal, an owner of packaging unit, said "we need to
cut few jobs as there will be no gutka packaging. So, we can`t
afford to give them there salaries".

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

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

Paliwal said, however, the packaging will become costlier
by 40 per cent as it would requisite deployment of new
machines.

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 a
major loss and unemployment for the industry which supplies
products to other adjoining areas like Lucknow, Varanasi and
Bundelkhand.

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

PTI