Karnataka may bring in law banning sale of tobacco, paan masala to contain drug menace: CM

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Bengaluru, Jul 31 (PTI) Karnataka may bring an ordinance to ban the sale of tobacco, gutkha and paan masala in the state over fears of drugs being sold in paan masala pouches, Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa told Governor Vajubhai Vala on Friday.

Yediyurappa along with Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai had called on the Governor to discuss a host of issues with him including drugs, crime and coronavirus cases in the state.

During the discussion, the Governor suggested to the Chief Minister to ban the sale and distribution of tobacco, Gutkha, Paan Masala and all types of pouches in which in the name of gutkha, drugs were sold in the state, a statement from the Governor's office said.

'The Chief Minister said that the issue will be discussed and action will be taken. If necessary an ordinance will be brought about this,' the statement read.

Recently, the Bengaluru police busted a racket with the arrest of four persons from Kerala with a major drug haul of Rs 1.25 crore from their hideout.

These drugs were brought to India in a clandestine manner and sold to college students and youth in Bengaluru and other parts of the state.

'The Governor also sought to know about the measures taken to contain the coronavirus cases in the state and emphasised upon the usage of Ayurveda medicines to boost immunity,' Bommai told reporters after meeting the Governor.

Sources in the Home Department said the Governor also discussed with Yediyurappa and Bommai about the steps taken by the government to check terrorist activities in the state following the United Nations' recent report pointing towards substantial presence of IS supporters in Karnataka.

To a question, Bommai said there was no discussion with the Governor about the cabinet expansion, which is on the cards in August.

The proposed cabinet expansion has created a buzz in state politics and the Chief Minister's unscheduled visit to the Governor sparked speculation.

A few days ago, Deputy Chief Minister Laxman Savadi had called on the Governor before meeting the party national president J P Nadda and Union Minister Nitin Gadkari in New Delhi.

Savadi's move had given rise to the speculations about the possible change of guard in the state and some social media posts went on to project him as the next Chief Minister of the state.

The Deputy Chief Minister later dismissed the reports saying that Yediyurappa was his leader and he would remain the Chief Minister for the rest of the term of the current Vidhana Sabha.PTI GMS SS PTI PTI