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Cigarettes, pan masala are now worth a steal

With pan shops closed since March 20 and supply drying up, burglars damage into pan shops and godown to either satisfy personal craving or make a killing within the thriving black market; prices of cigarettes, pan masala rise three times

Smokers and chewing tobacco addicts can cross to any lengths to get their day-to-day fix. Across the State, burglaries and pan store break-ins were reported where thieves have made off with cigarettes and tobacco worth lakhs.

Even the shopkeepers, who've been working stealthily right through the lockdown, are making a killing by selling these items at three to 5 instances their standard prices.

Khanpur pan store burgled

Thieves broke into Q Land Pan Shop in Khanpur on Thursday and fled with cigarettes, tobacco and masalas worth Rs 2 lakh. Owner of the store which is situated in the similar development as the BJP's town place of work, Rajesh Gupta, stated, "The shop was closed since March 20. One of my employees, who lives opposite the shop, kept an eye on it. Today (Friday) morning he called me up and informed that it had been broken into and goods stolen."

According to Gupta, thieves fled with tobacco, betel nuts, lime, sachets of pan masala and chocolates whilst leaving at the back of potato chip packets. The burglars also stole CCTV cameras, video recorder and TV set. An application in this connection has been filed with Shahpur police station.

Surat warehouse robbed

A warehouse in Surat was once damaged into on Wednesday and gutkha, tobacco and water bottles worth Rs 12.2 lakh stolen. Suresh Tejani, who had rented the godown at Shivan Estate on Kadodara Road, has filed a complaint in this regard with Puna Police Station.

The warehouse was once sealed by GST department on March 2 and on April 22 Tejani discovered that it was once burgled. More than 5,000 packets of gutkha worth Rs eight lakh, eight,800 packets of tobacco worth of Rs three.52 lakh, 400 water bottles and plastic chairs had been discovered lacking. Puna police inspector V U Gadariya stated, "We are checking the CCTV footage at present. Investigation is on in the case."

Lakhtar store damaged into

Lakhtar, a village in Surendranagar district with population of 12,000, has about 10 shops that promote pan masalas, cigarettes and different tobacco merchandise.

A wholesale store of tobacco merchandise in Patdi Gate locality was once damaged into however one of the vital pieces had been later discovered lacking by proprietor Amit Patel.

Police Sub Inspector Y S Chudasama stated, "The shop that was broken into is famous for selling tobacco. It also sells hosiery and cosmetic products. It seems someone broke into the shop in middle of the night with intention of getting hold of pan masalas. However, there was no stock of tobacco products inside. It seems the person was a tobacco addict who broke into the shop with intention of laying his hand on pan masala. Severe craving for tobacco may have induced him to take to illegal measure."

Having realised the folly of intruder out of desperation, Amit Patel has no longer filed any complaint with the police.

Recently, two youths of Morbi had deployed a drone to offer pan masalas to their dedicated shoppers. Local police had zeroed in on them after a video clip posted by the 2 on social media came to their realize.

-Nikunj Soni, Asik Banerjee, and Nischal Sanghavi

Cigarette, tobacco prices skyrocket

An addict of tobacco will surmount any condition to get his/her day-to-day dose of nicotine. With pan shops closed since March 20, maximum addicts have run out of stock and are prepared to pay any price to put their palms on their favorite pan masala or smokes. No wonder unscrupulous operators, who can’t open their pan shops, are charging two to three instances the standard price from their buyers.

Apack of 10 of a popular logo of cigarette that typically prices Rs 100, is being sold at Rs 250 to Rs 300 relying upon the locality of Ahmedabad. Asachet of common pan masala, costing Rs 10, now carries the inflated price of Rs 30. Also, the operators compel pan masala shoppers to buy packs of 50. Loose sachets are no longer sold. The price of desi tambaku (ready-to-chew tobacco) has shot up from Rs 10 in line with sachet to Rs 50.

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