Gutkha seized in raids used to generate power at Ramtekdi solid waste plant
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Since the ban on gutkha and pan masala two months ago, FDA officials in Pune district seized gutkha worth Rs 1.37 crore and on Friday used it at Pune Municipal Corporation's (PMC) solid waste plant to generate electricity.
FDA officials have been conducting raids in the city and other districts in Pune division since mid-July. Owing to series of petitions filed by gutkha manufacturers against the ban in the High Court, the seized gutkha was stocked in FDA godowns, awaiting instructions on how to dispose it.
With the High Court accepting FDA's contention that consumption of gutkha and pan masala was unsafe and the main cause for oral cancer, directives were issued to destroy the material, said FDA joint commissioner Shashikant Kekare.
Tobacco products worth over Rs 10 crore have been seized in the raids conducted across the state.
FDA assistant commissioner Dilip Sangat said instructions to destroy the seized material were received on October 15, which was finally disposed of today.
The FDA utilised the solid waste plant facility at Ramtekdi, run by Rochem Green Energy Private Ltd on Build-Operate and Transfer basis to destroy the material.
Plant manager Avinash Gawade said while the capacity of the plant is to dispose of 700 tonnes of garbage, in the first phase around 250 tonnes of garbage is being disposed of daily to generate electricity. Today, cartons of gutkha were also mixed in the solid waste, he said.
So far, the plant has been able to generate 10 MW of electricity which is being supplied to Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MSEDCL).
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