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HP cigarette, bidi sellers protest compulsory registration

Summary: SHIMLA: Cigarette and bidi sellers in Himachal Pradesh today protested the government’s decision to make registration compulsory for vendors of tobacco products.

The Cabinet had yesterday decided to make registration of vendors for selling tobacco products compulsory but they alleged that the aim is to “bring the dealers under licensing system” which would harm their business.

“We have submitted a memorandum to the Chief Minister, protesting the proposed legislation as it would badly hit our businesses,” Sharma said. “The decision tantamount to enforcing the licensing system which would hurt their business interest, expose them to harassment and open the door for officials to extract money,” Surinder Sharma, a member of Bidi Cigarette Vikreta Sangh claimed.

Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh has asked the health department to draft legislation for registration of retailers of tobacco products.After banning the sale of loose cigarettes, the government would make licence mandatory for sellers of packed tobacco products, including cigarettes, an official spokesperson said.

A bill in this regard is expected to be tabled in the legislative Assembly during the Budget Session.

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