Banned tobacco sells in black

LUDHIANA: Ban imposed by the Supreme Court on the sale of tobacco products from March 1 has led wholesalers and retailers of the city into black-marketing. While some have withdrawn the tobacco business, others sell the products at rates five times higher the original prices.

The residents fond of paan masala are left with no other option but to face the brunt of the price hike. However, till date, SC’s order is yet to be implemented and tobacco manufacturers have asked for more time as they want to sell the existing stock to avoid losses.

Sachin of Daresi said that he loves chewing paan masala but is annoyed as unfair trade practices followed by retailers go unchecked.

Happy, a resident of defence colony said that his monthly budget stands disturbed as he pays Rs 35 for the paan masala that otherwise costs Rs 7. Ramesh of Sarabha Nagar said that he was upset over the non-availability of branded paan masala. ”This clearly shows the corrupt attitude of the traders. While the rich are selling in black, the average traders have no supply of tobacco,” Ramesh added.

Retailer Sonu in Sarabha Nagar market said the doubling of the prices made him stop the sale of paan masala. ”Wholesalers are playing foul and the small retailers have no choice. We are losing our regular customers.”

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