Amritsar July 07, 2012:Jathedaar Akal Takht, Giani Gurbachan Singh signed a pledge campaignedby ‘Voice of Tobacco Victims’,(VoTV) to work for saving Punjab from
the menace of tobacco and has written to Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandakh
Committee (SGPC) directing it to communicate with Punjab Government
regarding ban on sale of ‘Gutka’ in Punjab.
This is was informed by Dr. Prahlad Duggal, Patron of VoTV campaign in
Punjab and Consultant Head-Neck Cancer Surgeon at Amandeep Hospital,
Amritsar who met the Jathedaar with a request for his support in the
country-wide campaign against tobacco and got a signed letter of
pledge by him.
It may be mentioned that Sikhism, the dominant religion in Punjab
abhors tobacco usage and bans its use among Sikhs.
The VoTV is an anti-tobacco national campaign by doctors treating Oral
cancer, victims of tobacco cancer, their families, supported by Tata
Memorial Hospital Mumbai, Healis Sekhsaria Institute of Public Health
, Mumbai and Salaam Bombay Foundation, an NGO.
Recently, the Jathedar had taken strong exception to the use of a
photograph of Guru ji on a packet of ‘Gutka’ being sold in Punjab and
had directed the SGPC, who in turn wrote a strong letter of protest to
the Govt. of Uttar Pradesh where it was being manufactured.
Dr. Duggal met the Jathedaar, with a request for getting the sale of
‘Gutka’ banned in Punjab, citing the example of three state chief
ministers of Madhya Pradesh, Kerala and Bihar ,who have already
imposed a ban on the sale of ‘Gutka’ in their respective states.
He also updated the Jathedaar about situation in Punjab where about
30-lakh people were tobacco users, of these about 10-lakh were prone
to die prematurely due to tobacco related diseases. Dr. Duggal on
behalf of VoTV, had written to Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh
Badal, requesting a ban on the sale of ‘Gutka’ in Punjab. He has
appealed to the CM, that Punjab being the land of ‘Gurus’ whose
preaching are against the use of tobacco in any form, should have been
the first state to ban ‘Gutka’ As a Head-Neck Cancer Surgeon, Dr.
Duggal treats a number of patients of mouth cancer, ‘Gutka’ being its
prime cause. He made the CM and Jathedaar, aware of the plight of
tobacco victims and their families, following their pre-mature deaths.
He cited to the CM and the Jathedaar of the promulgation of new
regulation wherein the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India,
Ministry of Health, has notified the Food Safety and Standards
Prohibition and Restriction on sales) Regulation, 2011 vide F. No.
215015/30/2010, dated 1st August, 2011, brought into force on
05.08.2011, with Regulation 2.4.3 mandating prohibition and
restriction on sale of food products containing tobacco and nicotine
as its ingredients. With this new notification, a ban on ‘Gutka’ was
possible by the state Governments, thus saving millions from this
‘Poison’ marketed in attractive packings.