Complete ban on hookah parlours likely by March
The Maharashtra Government is likely to impose a complete ban on hookah parlours operating in the state, citing the inability to effectively regulate them.
The state will follow Gujarat, which had imposed a similar ban by bringing such eateries under the ambit of the act that regulates the sale of tobacco products.
According to a senior state home department official, they have received an in-principal nod for the same.
“Like Gujarat has brought hookah bars in the ambit of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003, we are planning to do likewise, now a note will be placed before the cabinet for approval,” he told DNA.
The ban will reportedly come into effect by March 2018 after an approval from the state cabinet.
The BMC, incidentally, has been in the process of regulating such parlours since months now, with little to show for it.
“Even if regulations are in place, it is very easy for owners to violate them as they know we can’t check on them every day. Many of them violate fire safety rules or serve minors knowing that the rules are difficult to enforce,” a civic official told Local Press Co.
Earlier this month, Mumbai Mayor Vishwanath Mahadeshwar, who had called for a ban on unregulated hookah parlours in the city days before the Kamala Mills fire, pressed for either shutting or sealing them till norms were in place.
Mahadeshwar claimed that eateries were bending Supreme Court’s guidelines about smoking areas to serve hookah illegally. He also alleged that such places were narcotics dens and encouraged crime among youngsters.
The BMC had banned hookah parlours in the city in 2011. However, they started cropping back up after the decision was challenged in the apex court, which struck down the ban in 2014.