Patna: Four days after Bihar government imposed a ban on 'pan masala', a debt ridden pan masala trader, committed suicide leaving his family shocked.
Pawan Dutta, a debt ridden pan masala trader, ended his life on late Tuesday night in the state’s Gopalganj district. “Pan Masala trader Pawan was unhappy following the state government ban on pan masala, which was declared last Friday. He committed suicide in his rented house in Rajendra Nagar locality,” Gopalganj town police station in-charge Prashant Kumar Rai said.
Rai told NewsClick that police recovered his body, hanging inside the room on Wednesday. He said, “The police team broke the door of his room and found his body and pan masala worth lakhs. His wife and children were in the other room that was closed from outside.”
According to police officials, Pawan who originally hails from Jamtada district of Jharkhand, was running a pan masala business for the last few years.
Pawan’s wife informed police that her husband was in the grip of depression soon after the government announced the decision to ban pan masala and his business was turned illegal overnight.
Rai said, “Pawan’s wife has revealed that he had borrowed a large amount of money from four people and invested in his pan masala business. However, following the ban, the debtors had increased pressure on him to return their money.”
Last week on August 30, the Bihar state government announced the ban on pan masala for one year. It was a major decision after liquor prohibition in the state. The government had banned the production and consumption of liquor in the state on April 5, 2016.
According to Bihar Food Safety Commissioner Sanjay Kumar, a total 15 companies in the state have been totally barred from production, storage, transportation, exhibition and sale of 'pan masala' either in packed or loose form for next one year. Kumar said the decision to ban pan masala has come into force after magnesium carbonate was found in 'pan masala' samples taken from different districts of state.
Health experts said magnesium carbonate can cause various heart diseases. Under the Food Safety Act 2006, mixing magnesium carbonate in 'pan masala' is fully banned.
Even though the ban on pan masala has a number of health benefits, it has also rendered thousands of people employed in the sector jobless, especially at a time when the economic slowdown has gripped the entire nation and unemployment has reached unprecedented levels.