However, this may only be a temporary ban lift as the state Food and Drug Administration has issued a circular that states that a single-member committee will be formed to look into ban of areca nut. This letter was issued on 17th July to revoke the ban.
Professor Pankaj Chaturvedi who treats head and neck cancers at Tata Memorial Hospital says, “Areca nut is a known carcinogen. It is present in pan masala, the sale of which was banned, but now the government is reconsidering it, which is shocking.” An FDA official told Hindustan Times, “There were several appeals made to the CM (chief minister), regarding the ban on areca nut.” This indicates that there was pressure from the lobbyists to reconsider the ban.
However the health officials do not seem convinced by this ban revoke. “In Maharashtra, the health of children and youth have been benefited by the ban on pan masala. We have been working in 15,000 zilla parishad schools and 220 schools in Mumbai. Please make it permanent.” wrote Tshering Bhutia of Salaam Bombay Foundation in his letter to FDA.
Notably, Maharashtra was the first state in India to ban gutka in 2013 and the next year pan masala was also banned.
Feature Image: Fiinovation