“After the Assembly passes the bill on gutkha ban, the government, in the second phase, will ban all kinds of smokeless tobacco products. In the third phase, it will impose a ban on smoking tobacco like cigarette and bidi. If possible, we will also prohibit the sale of liquor in the state,” Sarma reportedly told the state legislature. A draft bill to ban gutkha is before the state cabinet, the Calcutta newspaper said on its website.
With a comprehensive tobacco ban, Assam would go beyond actions of many Indian states to remove gutkha, a chewing tobacco usually mixed with betel nuts, herbs and spices, from retail shelves. (ci)