Destroy gutkha products seized from Muslim pilgrims: Health dept to DIAL

NEW DELHI: Delhi’s health department has asked the city’s airport operator to destroy 270 kg gutkha products seized from Muslim pilgrims going to Saudi Arabia for Haj.

The department has taken cognizance of media reports about the Delhi airport not allowing gutkha products with the Muslims flying for the annual pilgrimage to avoid any problem in Saudi Arabia.

“The Airport authority has collected 270 kg gutkha from outbound pilgrims and returned 120 kg out of it to a Haj committee for use or sale which is not appropriate,” Dr S K Arora, Additional Director (Health), wrote in his letter to Delhi International Airport Limted (DIAL).

Arora said that gutkha is a chewable tobacco product, which is banned as per the Food Safety Act.

The manufacture, storage, distribution and sale of gutkha or similar chewable tobaccos are banned in Delhi.

“Rather as per the recent direction of the Supreme Court, each state has to notify it as a prohibited item,” Dr Arora said.

“Therefore, the seized gutkha cannot be returned to Haj committees or any other organisation and needs to be destroyed,” he said.

Arora has also communicated to the Food safety department, delhi government and the central government to take note of this for necessary action.