The Industrial Promotion Board (IPB) in Nepal announced an indefinite moratorium on the registration of new gutka manufacturing units after figures from the Inland Revenue Department showed only 150 of 455 registered gutka factories pay taxes, reports Kantipur Online.
Following India’s April 2011 directive banning the sale of gutka in plastic pouches, Indian gutka producers have shifted their operations to border towns in Nepal’s Terai region.
An IPB task force will investigate the gutka industry and submit recommendations within two months.
According to the customs’ department, local manufacturers exported 361,000 tons of gutka in the first five months of fiscal year 2013, more than three times the amount exported in fiscal year 2012.
Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state with more than 200 million residents, has started implementing a ban on the sale of gutka. This action follows the Supreme Court’s denial of a tobacco industry petition to stay implementation of the ban.
Altogether, 23 of India’s 28 states and five of seven union territories have now joined the fast-growing movement to ban gutka.
Adding to the momentum, the Indian Supreme Court this week directed the remaining states and territories to implement the gutka ban and to explain why they had not yet complied with previous court orders and national regulations requiring implementation. The high court also directed the states and territories that had already passed orders to implement the ban to file reports on implementation efforts.