Himachal Pradesh traders resent barring cigarette shops from selling eatables

Shimla, Oct 27: Small retailers in Himachal Pradesh on Friday resented the Centre’s decision that restricted those dealing with tobacco products not to sell non-tobacco products.

“This is grossly an unfair decision. Any forced reduction in products sold by us will have a severe financial implication on all of us who have regular fixed clientele,” Pan, Biri and Cigarettes Association Society President Raj Kishore said in a statement.

The Union Health Ministry has asked all the state governments to develop a mechanism to grant “permission” to retail outlets selling tobacco products.

Shops authorised to sell tobacco products will not be permitted to sell any non-tobacco products like chips, soft drinks and other non-tobacco products.

He said a decision in this regard was taken at the direction of multinationals that were out to destroy the local traders.

“It is felt that the regulation of tobacco products can be made more effective. It will be appropriate to develop a mechanism to provide permission or authorisation through Municipal Authority to the retail shops who are selling tobacco products,” a letter dated September 21 of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said.

The Pan, Biri and Cigarettes Association Society has more than 50,000 members, largely petty traders, selling tobacco products across the state.

Source Indian Express