Port Blair, Apr 04: Soon after ban on all kind of Chewable tobacco products in Andaman and Nicobar Islands, the prices of tobacco in black market sore sky high.
According to reports, soon after ban a single Tobacco (Zarda) tin (small size) was sold at Rs. 800 while each Zarda Pan was sold in black at the rate of Rs. 50.
But now things have changed drastically, call it rationalization of black market or easy availability of Tobacco in Andaman and Nicobar Islands, today a Tobacco (Zarda) tin (small size) costs Rs. 500 while a Zarda Pan costs Rs.30. This also indicates how easily Tobacco is available in local market today.
While the Zarda lovers across Andaman and Nicobar Islands have heaved a sigh of relief, the Tobacco peddlers have made their network unbelievably strong so that they can earn maximum from this tobacco ban.
Tobacco ban has no doubt minimized import of tobacco in Andaman and Nicobar Islands through legal route but until and unless the porous boundaries of Andaman and Nicobar Islands are completely sealed to check entry of Tobacco, this ban will not yield encouraging results.
Islanders believe, the tobacco ban has open a new doors for black marketers and drug peddlers, for whom importing Tobacco in Andaman in black is more profitable than importing Ganja as each Zarda Tin, yield more than 500 percent profit and the risk in this illegal trade is negligible compared to drug peddling.
Andaman and Nicobar Islands are always considered as a happy place to live as people over here never oppose to any extreme rule imposed on them. In the present case of Tobacco Ban, although there was some noise against this decision but ultimately most of the tobacco lovers have found the way out and now they are getting Tobacco more easily as because of high commission involved people in black market are often doing home delivery. Selling Tobacco tin is a new found part time business for some Group D staffs in local offices.
Today, Office babu, businessmen even some cops can be seen openly chewing Tobacco and making mockery of the present law of this land.
For name sake the Food Safety unit is conducting some raids, but as it is clear now that such raids are not enough. Administration must take some more stringent measure that Tobacco does not enter these Islands by any mean. Ban on Tobacco should not be only for the sake of SC’s order.