Madhya Pradesh: Mask a vaccine? Or a noose for gutka chewers?

Like other states, Madhya Pradesh too is witness to another category of Covid safety norm violators. Those who consume gutka, tobacco and mouth freshners wear masks around neck instead of putting it on face as they find difficulties to spit with mouth covered.

Though chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has said that mask is a vaccine in pandemic, it is big hurdle for gutka chewers. They continuously chew gukta, tobacco and mouth freshners and spit at public places or on road sides. The masks can be seen dangling around their necks like a noose, which is a dangerous practice specially when coronavirus is playing havoc with human lives.

Experts say that chewing smokeless tobacco products, paan masala and areca nut (supari) increases the production of saliva followed by a strong urge to spit. Spitting in public places enhances spread of Covid infection. Keeping this in view, Indian Council for Medical Research has also appealed to people to refrain from consuming smokeless tobacco products and spitting in public places.

Besides, there is provision for action under Epidemic Diseases Act, Disaster Management Act, Indian Penal Code 1860 and Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPc) to deal with pandemic.

Administration has made provision for spot fine from Rs 500 to Rs 5,000 for violating corona norms like physical distancing, face cover with masks and hand hygiene. A spot fine of Rs 500 is charged for not wearing mask and Rs 1,000 for spitting at public places.

‘Bhopal Administration is strict’

SDM Rajesh Gupta said there is ban on sale of tobacco laced gutka sachets. But companies have segregated tobacco from gutka and then selling both the things separately as mouth freshners. Administration has already introduced spot fines for not wearing masks and spitting at public place. “We have to implement them strictly to discourage practice of spitting at public places,” he added.

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