Law to regulate, shut hookah parlours coming soon: CM Fadnavis

Law to regulate, shut hookah parlours coming soon: CM Fadnavis
Fadnavis said the draft Bill of the amendment to the existing act will soon be placed before the two Houses (Representational Image)

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Monday said the Maharashtra government will soon bring a legislation to regulate and shut hookah parlours in the state.

The CM was replying to supplementary queries raised on a calling attention motion moved by the Congress’ Sanjay Dutt on the fire that swept through two pubs in the Kamala Mills compound on December 28 and killed 14 people.

Replying to queries, Fadnavis said that hookah parlours were a major source from where intoxicants reached the youth and, currently, there was no law to regulate it.

Congress leader Sharad Ranpise had also raised questions about the number of illegal hookah parlours operating in Mumbai and in the state.

Responding to Ranpise’s queries, the CM stated that the draft Bill of the amendment to the existing Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA), Maharashtra, is ready and will soon be placed before the two Houses.

The draft bill, on the lines of the one implemented by Gujarat, proposes a two-year jail term and fine of Rs 50,000 for violators. It also proposes a minimum age for entry to bars, a minimum distance from schools/colleges and new licensing norms to regulate establishments operating illegally.

Fadnavis, while speaking in the Legislative Council, also said the Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act would be amended to facilitate transfer of civic employees between corporations.

“The government will amend the laws governing municipal corporations in the state to facilitate the transfer of civic employees of the same class between municipal corporations,” he said in reply to a query.

He added the government was open to a comprehensive “terms of reference” for the committee headed by a retired judge of the High Court that will probe the Kamala Mills fire.

“The three member committee will be headed by a retired judge of the High Court and will include the principal secretary of the Urban Development department and a town planning expert,” he said.

The current terms of reference of the probe panel was to find out violations committed by the restaurant, officials of the BMC, the mill owners and violations of fire safety norms, he said.

The committee will have to submit its report within three months from commencing work.

Fadnavis further stated that the BMC had now set up 30 units to check and inspect premises for compliance of fire safety norms.

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