THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: With the schools set to reopen after the summer holidays, it’s now the turn of the parents and the police officials to feel the heat over enforcing the ban slapped on gutka and pan masala by the State Government.
Although it was announced that a combined team comprising officials from the Revenue, Health and Police Departments would oversee the enforcement, there are no signs of any such orchestrated move from the three parties.
“We have not yet received any such order from the top. If we receive one, then we would certainly act on that order,” said City Police Commissioner T J Jose.
Food Security Commissioner Biju Prabhakar also appeared clueless on whether the order was passed or not.
“The order might have been issued in the State yesterday itself,” he told City Express over phone from New Delhi. This laxity on the part of the officials has forced many schools to institute special committees to check the sales of the banned items.
Meanwhile, the Education Minister issued a statement that ‘Dharma Sena’, a committee to cultivate moral values, would be formed in all schools. This committee would comprise 10 parents and would look into issues like sales of intoxicants like gutka and pan masala to students.
The present state of affairs indicates that the banned stuff would be sold clandestinely. “We have registered many cases against shop-keepers for selling gutka and variants of pan masala. The raids are being conducted under the direction of the respective SIs. The police patrolling will be intensified near schools and colleges and they will take care of the gutka sales. If any further action is needed, then that will be decided after the review meeting with Assistant Commissioners and Circle Inspectors,” Jose said.
But the manpower crunch in the Police Department is casting doubts over its efficiency to deal with the issue.