Gujarat buses not to?carry tobacco ads
AHMEDABAD - The Gujarat High Court has ordered the two major public transport companies of the state not to advertise tobacco products on their buses.
Accordingly, the state-owned Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation (GSRTC) and the municipal-run Ahmedabad Municipal Transport Service (AMTS) have given an undertaking that from January 1, their buses will not display advertisements of cigarettes, bidis (thinner cigarettes rolled in tobacco leaf) and gutkha or any other tobacco products made from prohibited items.
The court directive to the two public transport services ferrying millions of people followed a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Amarsinh Chaudhari.
Chaudhari, in his PIL, had pointed out that tobacco products were hazardous to public health and hence should not be displayed or advertised.
The government-owned transport services have undertaken before the court that they would not invite any tenders for advertisement in this regard. Some 2.5 million passengers travel by 8,000 buses of the loss-making GSRTC.
During the hearing, Dr Pankaj Shah, director of Gujarat Cancer Research Institute (GCRI), submitted a report which read that gutkha and pan masala contained injurious substances.
Quoting reports from the Food and Drugs laboratory of Vadodara, Rajkot and Kutch, Chaudhari’s counsel told the court that most of the samples of gutkha and pan masala taken for examination were found to be adulterated with magnesium carbonate.
The counsel contended that in view of such reports, it is abundantly clear that most of the products — gutkhas or pan masalas — were all injurious to health. On December 7, the Supreme Court had ordered the manufacturers of gutkha, tobacco and pan masala to restrain from using plastic for making the sachets of the items, with effect from March 2011.