Cracking down on 20 top gutka and pan masala companies for non-compliance of Supreme Court orders and Plastic Waste Management Rules, (PWM) 2016, the environment ministry has issued notices to them, directing them to prohibit use of plastic in packaging their products. The ministry's directions, reviewed by dna, has asked manufacturers of Gurkha, Tobacco and Pan Masala to immediately stop using plastic material in any form to follow strict compliance of Supreme Court's directions and provisions of PWM Rules. Under Rule 4(f) of the PWM Rules, 2016, plastic material is not to be used for sachets that store, pack and sell gutka, tobacco and pan masala.

"The brand owners of the units manufacturing gutka, tobacco and pan masala shall have the overall responsibility for implementation of these directions. The compliance report for the aforesaid directions and the provisions of the rules shall be submitted to the ministry within 30 days," the ministry's directions said. The union environment ministry can issue directions under section 5 of the Environment Protection Act, 1986, for closure. Prohibition or regulation of any industry, operation or process or for stoppage and regulation of the supply of electricity or water or any other service.

The ministry has issued these directions to top gutka, tobacco and Pan Masala manufacturing companies such as Vimal Pan Masala, Dharampal Satyapal Group, Rajshree Pan Masala, Manickchand Pan Masala, Pan Parag and Goa Pan Masala.

In a 2010 order, the Supreme Court had restrained manufacturers of gutka, tobacco and pan masala from using plastic material in sachets of gutka, tobacco and pan masala. These orders were not followed and later, in 2011, a contempt petition was filed regarding disobedience of Supreme Court's orders on use of plastic in gutka industry. The SC had then directed the environment ministry and other concerned agencies to ensure implementation of the its orders by all manufacturers across the country.

Source: 7 October, 2016,