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HP gears up to ban sale of junk food in plastic

 

Gearing up to implement the Himachal Pradesh High Court ban on the sale of junk food sold in plastic packaging, the state government has asked the Finance and Excise and Taxation Departments to not just work out the resultant revenue loss, but also ensure there is no smuggling of these products into the state after the ban come into effect from April 1.

It was on January 16 this year that the High Court had set a deadline of April 1 for banning the sale of junk food like chips, kurkure, biscuit, chocolates and other such items in non-biodegradable packaging. However, the sale of essential items like milk has not been banned in a state which was amongst the first in the country to ban polythene to protect its environment.

Directions have been issued to the Finance and the Excise and Taxation Departments to work out the revenue loss that would result from the sale of these products.

Chief Secretary Sudripta Roy confirmed that the government was gearing up to implement the High Court order. “Besides ensuring that the High Court order is implemented, we also need to gear up to ensure that these items packed in non-biodegradable plastic are not smuggled back into the state after April 1, when the ban comes into effect,” he said.

He admitted that a delegation of industrialists had met him, seeking a rethink on the part of the government on the issue, considering the difficulties they would face. “We have made it amply clear to them that we will honour the court order so there is no question of rethink on it,” he said.

Many of the products, the sale of which will be banned in Himachal, are presently being produced in factories within Himachal. As such the government authorities will have to put in place paraphernalia to ensure that these are not clandestinely smuggled back and sold in Himachal in violation of the law. The court has observed that since the use of paper for packaging might not be suitable, the use of other options such as tetra packs, tin packing or biodegradable plastic of 20-micro-metre thickness can be explored.

A High Court committee has identified chips, wafers, biscuits, namkeen, candy, chewing gum, cookies, ice-cream, chocolates, noodles, sugary cereals, cornflakes, pizzas, burgers, patties, French fries, carbonated drinks, fruit beverages and cakes as junk food and are sold in non-biodegradable packing.

 

The Tribune (12-02-2013)