A document of with Argus News clearly shows that State Pollution Control Board in its report has given consent to allow this unit to manufacture supari, pan masala, chewing tobacco till March 30, 2022. How could this happen? Didn’t the concerned official know the fact that the 2013 notification of the Odisha government states "The manufacture, storage, sale and distribution of gutka and pan masala containing tobacco or nicotine as ingredients by whatsoever name available in the market is hereby prohibited ... in the greater interest of public."
Some may take the plea that the local officials allowed the gutka manufacturing unit to function without knowledge of their higher ups and concerned ministers. But no official can dare to violate the law so blatantly unless there is patronage of the people in power. Four powerful ministers of the Odisha government are now stained by this murky revelation regarding illegal functioning of the gutka manufacturing unit since past several years. These ministers head the departments that were directly involved in closing down their eyes when it came to granting permission and protection to this illegal gutka production unit. These ministers are Susant Singh, who holds the labour department, minister of state for home Dibya Shankar Mishra, State forest minister Bikram Keshari Arukh and State health minister Naba Kishore Das.
Former State health minister Damidar Raut, during whose time gutka was banned in Odisha in 2013 wished that State health minister and government will take appropriate action against people who are behind the stark violation of the gutka prohibition order. How could this gutka manufacturing unit operate without knowledge of the concerned collector and excise department officials, Mr Raut asked. He stated this while taking part in the ‘Rok Thok’ discussion on Argus News.
Sahadeva Sahoo, the former chief secretary of Odisha expressed astonishment over the silence of the people running the government regarding this issue of violation of gutka ban order. He suspected some underhand dealing and put the responsibility on the State government. Till now there no action has been initiated against the officials, who allowed the gutka manufacturing unit to function. It is duty of the concerned ministers to take action against these officials. According Sahadeva, the concerned ministers should bear the blame for it.
BJP leader Mukesh Mahaling alleged that the illegal gutka manufacturer may be giving crores of rupees as donation to the ruling BJD. According to him the Gutka factory couldn’t be functioning without knowledge of government authorities. “State government is trying to destroy health of citizens by gutka and liquor and then it wants to get political gain by distribution of Biju Swasthya Cards”, he said.