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Trade bodies slam curb on sale of non-tobacco products

NEW DELHI: Akhil Bharatiya Pan Vikreta Sangh and its partner trade associations across the country on Thursday expressed their displeasure over the 'undemocratic suggestion' of the Ministry of Health to the Chief Secretaries of states in September, which suggested restrictions on sale of non-tobacco products.
The trade associations – which collectively represent around 75 lakh traders, retailers and panwallas – have been carrying out demonstrations in various states against the Ministry suggestion, as the livelihood of these traders is dependent on the sale of not just tobacco products but non-tobacco items, such as bread, eggs, juices, soft drinks, wafers etc.
Expressing concern over the right to choose products that members can sell being taken away, the trade associations submitted representations to various state governments.
As all products sold by the retailers are legal, the Ministry's suggestion, if implemented, will push poor retailers further into poverty and benefit hyper-market chains and large organised players.
A few days ago, members of trade associations met with Union Health Minister J P Nadda in Himachal Pradesh, where he assured them that he will look into the matter and issue appropriate communication.
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