In a major swoop, officials of the Food and Drugs Administration raided 14 stalls at the Anjuna flea market and confiscated foreign cigarette packets which were being sold without the necessary pictorial warning, which is mandatory under the Control of Tobacco Products Act.
However due to persistent pleading, FDA let them off after taking an undertaking and issuing a warning.
“On Thursday, 9th January 2013, the FDA Officials namely Food safety Officer Rajiv Korde and Flavia de Souza with Anjuna Police Station constables raided stalls at Anjuna Flea market which were engaged in the selling of various brands of imported cigarettes which did not display specified health and pictorial warnings on the packets. Fourteen such stalls were raided during this drive. The brands which did not carry the statutory warning were Dunhill, More, Marlboro, Winston, 555, Rothman, Double Happie, Shooter, Black, Pall Mall, Camel, Richman,” Director of FDA Salim Veljee said in a statement.
According to Veljee the sale of these cigarettes violated Section 7(1) of the Control of Tobacco Products Act Act, 2003, which stipulates that “no person shall directly or indirectly produce, supply or distribute cigarette or any other tobacco products unless every package of cigarettes or any other tobacco products supplied or distributed by him/her bears thereon, or on its label such specified warning including a pictorial warning as prescribed in the Act and Rules there under.
These specified warnings are required to be legible, prominent, conspicuous as to the size and colour and in such styles as to be boldly and clearly presented in distinct contrast.
“These violations are punishable under Section 20 with imprisonment up to 2 years or fine which may extend to Rs 5000 or both.
Veljee claimed that the vendors had absolutely no clue about what COTPA was, when FDA officials told them that they were seizing the cigarettes because they were being sold in violation of the Act and were hence let go with a warning.
“The vendors plead that their stocks of defective cigarettes should not be confiscated as a first time opportunity and after great pursuance all the vendors at the Anjuna Flea market dealing in cigarettes were warned, after obtaining an undertaking, that they shall not deal in such defective labelling products in future and as a one time opportunity all these vendors were warned,” Veljee said adding that they were directed remove the stocks of such defective labelling cigarettes from the shelves of their stalls. [H]