The number of individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 novel Coronavirus has crossed the 600 mark. Experts believe that India is fairing much better than other countries, and that we are not facing exponential growth of cases. The governments at the Centre and States are to be credited for the feat, as they have been proactive from the very outset, barring a few exceptions here and there.
Leading the fight against Coronavirus is Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. In a bold, and potentially far-reaching decision, Yogi has decided to ban the manufacture, distribution and sale of pan masala in Uttar Pradesh until further orders, in view of the Coronavirus pandemic. UP Additional Chief Secretary (Home), Avanish Awasthi had earlier said that the state government was mulling a ban on the manufacture and sale of pan masalas, since the virus is seen to be active in saliva, and people spitting while consuming pan masala is a cause of worry. The government has said that the ban shall remain in place until further orders. According to some media reports, the ban will continue at least till the 21-day lockdown ends, the Financial Express reported.
Earlier, in 2017, barely weeks after taking oath as CM, Yogi Adityanath had banned the consumption of pan masala in government offices.
CM Yogi’s decisive decision-making capability is not unknown to the people and he has taken many bold steps since coming to power in 2017. From resurrecting the supremacy of law and order in the state, to making goons run with tails between their legs, Yogi Adityanath has done it all. According to the official data, there have been over 1,478 police encounters in the state between 2017 and 2018 alone. The highest number of encounters happened in Meerut Zone, 569. Bareilly zone was next one with 253 encounters. Next in queue is the Agra zone where 241 encounters took place followed by Kanpur zone with 112 encounters. In CM Yogi’s Gorakhpur district 51 encounters took place.
Illegal slaughter houses have been shut in the state. Unlike before, there are no ghettos which the police now fears entering in the state. Apart from this, recently, during the peak of the anti-CAA agitation, Yogi made it clear that the protestors would have to cough up heavy fines for damage caused to public property. Further, these criminals were named and shamed by the government publicly as their names and faces were put up on large banners and hoardings at public places. Despite judicial overreach on the matter, Yogi persisted with the decision of shaming the protestors publicly.
However, the decision to ban pan masala in the state is perhaps his boldest step so far, repercussions of which will reverberate far and wide and across party lines. See, the chances of getting coronavirus by spittle are high in UP, sadly. Uttar Pradesh has pan masala, gutka enthusiasts in enormous numbers, who don’t give a second thought before taking a ‘peek‘ (spitting out gutka leaving red stains). At a time when the Coronavirus proliferation needs to be inhibited, one cannot have people spitting across the state, hence endangering public health. As a result, UP government has decided to put a ban on pan masala.
This decision is bound to irk many people, especially from the famed Gutka circuit. This is why we are calling it the boldest decision so far. It is a good chance for Kanpur to go through its withdrawal symptoms while also fight coronavirus in quarantine. Killing too birds with a stone. Perhaps the people should grow a habit of detoxing themselves from pan masala and help their Chief Minister set an example of Uttar Pradesh for other states to learn from.