May 19, 2024

The Scoop India

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Who is the hunter and who is the prey in the drug game of death?

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Sometimes Raj Kapoor filmed in Mukesh’s voice “Mujhko Yaaron Maaf Karna I am drunk”, sometimes a bottle was seen in Nasruddin’s hand (in the rainy season… he came out of the house in a state of loneliness and picked up the bottle), sometimes in the movie Karma. Anil and Jackie said that after a long time they have got this liquor, giving liquor, then going ahead, Honey sang “Chaar bottle vodka kaam mera roz ka” (Eat the paan of Banaras or drink it in the name of Shivshankar, everything is the same) Bollywood gave it in the name of art and music. Now they are even advertising Gutka and liquor.

There is an organization called Central Consumer Protection Authority. This organization had sent show-cause notice to Shahrukh Khan, Akshay Kumar, Ajay Devgan for advertising Paan Gutka tobacco. But when they did not make any difference, now the interference of Prayagraj High Court has also increased. Actually, this entire matter is related to the petition of lawyer Motilal Yadav. Motilal has appealed to hold celebrities – especially ‘Padma Award winners’ – accountable for advertising harmful products. Said that such products are harmful to the public at large and if any award winner does not conduct himself appropriately. If a person promotes harmful products, guidelines should be issued to cancel his award. The names of many actors and paan-gutkha companies including Amitabh Bachchan, Shahrukh Khan, Akshay Kumar, Ajay Devgan, Saif Ali Khan are included in this petition. In 2022, Motilal Yadav had moved the High Court. There was a demand to take action against the film actors and impose fines and that the money earned from advertisements be deposited in the relief fund of the Government of India. Similarly, recently, during the debate on the petition challenging the order banning the sale of Gutkha-Pan Masala in Tamil Nadu, an interesting game came to the fore.

Actually, some time ago there was talk of ban on Gutka. When it was banned in some places, suddenly Gutka companies prepared two sachets. One is betel nut and the other is tobacco. To avoid the clutches of the law, both the things are packed and sold separately and later people mix both. In such a situation it becomes Gutkha. The company says that it is not selling gutka at all, it is selling pan masala. When this information came to light, the bench of Justice BV Nagarathna, while hearing, asked the Tamil Nadu government that no nectar is being sold. Why not impose a permanent ban on the sale of gutkha?

Responding to this, advocate Kapil Sibal, who is representing the Tamil Nadu government and Gutka, said that it cannot be completely banned because companies sell pan-masala and tobacco in separate pouches. People buy different sachets and mix them to make gutkha. Now you tell me how to ban the purchase and sale of tobacco and pan masala?

That means everyone is united in taking people to the point of death. Today Akshay Kumar is also Juba Kesari and so is Shahrukh Khan. There are many film actors like Amitabh Bachchan, Ajay Devgan, Saif Ali Khan who are openly advertising drugs. Just think who gets what in this market of profits. A company which is making Gutka in the name of Pan Masala, pays crores of rupees to these actors for advertisements, why doesn’t it get these advertisements done by some passerby or stranger? Because she knows that people follow these film stars, so when they do Juba Kesari, the common people, the youth and children of the country will also do Juba Kesari. Well the company made Gutka Pan Masala. Got the advertisement shot by paying huge amount. Now the next earning will be from OTT platforms, TV channels and news channels. They will take huge amount and send this advertisement to the public in between their news or broadcast.

Now the stockist will deliver the goods to small shopkeepers, where they will be available to the common people. But the game is not over yet, in the year 2020 there were 12 lakh 80 deaths due to gutka tobacco. This was a big figure for the government, so to deal with it, the only thing the government did was that earlier 40 percent of cigarette packs had health warnings, now this scope was increased to 80 percent. When the death toll increased, another information was added from September 1, 2018. Helpline number was given to give up addiction on tobacco products. That is, till now the government was making profits from TV-news channels and taxes, from the Bollywood gang that advertises the company. Now a helpline number has been given to give up addiction. That means, whatever is left in your pocket, give it to the helpline. But the game has not stopped yet, the pharmaceutical company also got its share.

There has been an increase of 147 percent in oral cancer between 1990 and 2019. At the same time, pharyngeal cancer has also increased by 177 percent. Whereas in the whole world during this period only an increase of 24.7 percent has been seen. In India, in 1990, the incidence of oral cancer was 5 in 1 lakh people. Which increased to 14 in 2019. This figure has emerged based on data collected from 204 countries around the world and research by around 200 experts on oral cancer and esophageal cancer. This research has been published in the monthly journal called JAMA Oncology, which is published by the American Medical Association. According to him, the ever-increasing use of smoking, tobacco, gutkha and chemicals in India is the main reason for the increase in such cases. The death rate from cancer in India increased by 167.5 percent. That means, for the foreign companies making cancer medicines, the problem of mouth cancer caused by gutka tobacco in India has become a matter of concern. This report of his may seem sensitive but behind this sensitivity also a source of income can be found. According to the Health Ministry of India, in the year 2011, people spent Rs 1450 crore on diseases caused by tobacco. Now if we compare this with the government earnings from tobacco in 2021, then the income was around Rs 5000 crore. Fifteen thousand crore rupees were spent on people’s illness. You yourself understand what kind of mathematics this is. The government is spending three times more on the treatment of people than what it is earning.

In 2018-19, Rs 1234 crore was received as tax from the central excise tax on tobacco, Rs 1610 crore in 2019-20 and Rs 5 thousand crore in 2020-21. Now there is a game in this also World Health Organization i.e. W. H o. According to the recommendations, tax should be 75 percent of the retail price of all tobacco products. This is not the case in India, the tax on the price of a pack of cigarettes is only 52.7 percent. 63.8 percent on Gutkha. According to some experts, after the introduction of GST, the tobacco industry has become silver because the scope of tax on it is not increasing.

For this reason, today India ranks second in the world in terms of tobacco consumption. 28 crore people consume it. For example, the number of people who consume tobacco gutka in our country is equal to the population of America or Pakistan. Of these, 13 lakh end up in the mouth every year. 27% of all cancer patients in India are tobacco users, so think about who is the hunter and who is the prey in this game of death? How does this game of billions of rupees attract people towards death by saying ‘Bolo Juba Kesari’ for just Rs 5 or Rs 10? The question is, do these Bolo Juba Kesari’s children also consume gutka and tobacco? Are these people doing such advertisements actors, heroes or villains of the society?

BY- Rajeev Choudhary

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