New Delhi: In an extreme step in its confrontation with the government regarding the new rules regarding bigger pictorial warnings on cigarette packs, the country’s leading cigarette maker ITC has shut its plants from May 4, the company said in a statement.
"The company has had to shut its cigarette factories from May 04, 2016, until the company is in a position to comply with the interim requirements pending hearing in the Karnataka High Court," the statement said.
The move comes a day after the Supreme Court ordered cigarette manufacturers to immediately follow the new federal rules requiring bigger health warnings on cigarette packs.
A cigarette manufacturing company had earlier challenged the government’s order to implement the new tobacco-control rules from April 1. The government’s order required health warnings to cover 85 per cent of a cigarette pack’s surface, which was earlier only 20 per cent.
Last month, various Indian cigarette manufacturing companies, including ITC Ltd and Godfrey Philips, stood against the new directives issued by the government on April 1 and briefly shut down production.
They refused to abide by the new rules and said that the government’s stringent policy will boost cigarette smuggling.
On April 1, the Tobacco Institute of India warned the government of shutting down the production which could lead to estimated losses of 3.5 billion rupees per day. However, various cigarette and beedi manufacturing companies have resumed production since then.