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Goodbye Paan?

Panaji, Goa’s capital, just banned the sale of paan. Should your city follow suit?

Murals: a painting or other work of art executed directly on a wall — or in the case of Indians, abstract art created inadvertently by uncouth citizens who simply cannot stop spitting paan on public property.

If you’re a paan connoisseur in Goa, then well, we have news for you. Last week, Panaji, Goa’s capital, banned all paan-selling kiosks in the city. The mayor, Surendra Furtado, then went on to set up a special municipal task force that would physically identify and evict paan-sellers.

“A Goan would rather have a sip of feni, instead of chewing on paan. It is against this great city’s cultural ethos. Plus paan pouches are clogging the city’s drainage system, and people spitting everywhere after eating paan are ruining our capital’s beauty,” Furtado was quoted telling IANS. “The entire drain was full of plastic paan pouches. It was disgusting. Also wherever you go, you see red stains where people eating paan have spat out the juice.”

While the move comes as a blow to paan lovers in Goa, there are many around the country who are singing a completely different tune.

A Hit With The Millennials

The move, unsurprisingly enough, has been hailed by the millennials around the country. Many, if fact, would love to see it replicated in their city as well. “Cleaner pavements, cleaner train platforms, cleaner roads, and just a cleaner city overall — I fail to see how it’d be a bad idea,” claims Pratik Khatar, a 25-year-old resident of Mumbai. “Apart from paan being disgusting and unhygienic, these paan-selling kiosks are often set up in a disorderly manner on footpaths. This is a nuisance because it blocks your path, leaving you with no choice but to walk on the roads instead. And of course, even then, one has to watch their step and hurdle those revolting paan puddles!”

The Other Side

A few in the city, though, are a tad more sympathetic. “These paanwalas are honest men who work an honest living. Some of them have been doing this for decades, and this is all they know. How’s it fair to take their livelihood away from them overnight?” questions Sanam Panjwani, a digital marketing professional from Mumbai. “Furthermore, there are many different types of paan that people enjoy immensely, like Magai or Meetha Paan, that do not contain areca nuts and can be swallowed whole. Why ban those too? I understand why the stains can be disgusting to many, but would it not make more sense to implement harsher laws that will curb littering and spitting than to ban the kiosks altogether?”

Whether or not you agree with the ban, Panaji has already implemented it and it’s interesting to see if more cities will follow suit. Do you support the ban and think it should be implemented in your city too? Let us know your views in the comments section below.





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