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Tobacco products being supplied from Karnataka

 

Prohibited tobacco products seized by FSSAI officials from a private bus from Bengaluru to Coimbatore on Thursday.

The banned items reach Coimbatore in private buses

Despite repeated crackdowns by various agencies, sale of banned tobacco products is yet to come under control in Coimbatore.

According to some of the sellers, demand for tobacco products from migrant population is increasing as against the demand from users here.

“Demand for gutkha from migrant workers has increased. Demand from users in the city has not seen an increase or fall,” says a seller from the city who did not want to be named.

But, recent seizures indicate a well-oiled supply chain network of prohibited tobacco products, mainly from Karnataka.

Banned items seized in the recent past by the Police Department, Railway Police and Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) were mainly sourced from Karnataka. Wholesale dealers get the supply through private bus services from Karnataka to Coimbatore, most of them arriving here in the small hours.

“Private buses depend on parcels to generate revenue in off-seasons. Agents give fake declarations on the consignments that are neatly packed so that the smell of tobacco does not come out,” says a police officer.

Following reports of the gutkha scam linking top officials in the Police Department in Chennai, the City Police had conducted a day-long drive against banned tobacco products in Coimbatore recently.

However, supply of tobacco products is not affected as shown in the seizure of contraband worth around Rs. 1 lakh on Thursday. The banned items were seized from a private bus that arrived the city from Bengaluru in the early hours on Thursday.

“The bus was checked based on specific information. Banned tobacco products were found in 13 cartons that were parcelled to an agent named Ganapathy. We have lifted samples from the seized consignment for laboratory examination,” said O.L.S. Vijay, Desiganted Officer, FSSAI.

The agent was identified by FSSAI officials as he came to collect the parcel at Karumathampatti.

Mr. Vijay said that action would be taken against the agent based on the laboratory result.

The seized items would also be destroyed.

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