After a fire broke out at Kamala Mills restaurant last month that killed 14 people, the Maharashtra government is giving a serious thought to ban the hookah parlours altogether. They have proposed an amendment in the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA) according to a report by the Hindustan Times. This move will illegalise serving of hookah at parlours and restaurants and the defaulters can be imprisoned for up to three years and get a fine of Rs. 50,000 levied on them.
Hookah Ban In Maharashtra
The rules which have been proposed currently are that the hookah parlours won’t be given the permission but sheesha can be served in a separate zone where no food or drinks are allowed, the government officials involved in the procedure told the publication. The report also said that the state government was planning on regulating the sheesha parlours but now is now planning to ban them.
The Kamala Mills fire investigation had earlier revealed that the reason behind the restaurant going ablaze were the embers used for hookah which then spread due to the combustible furniture. This incident and its findings had led the state government to take a drastic step like banning the serving of hookah altogether.
“Till some time ago, we were considering bringing a separate bill only to regulate the parlours by restricting minors and operation timings. The idea was to earn revenue out of their operations. But there was a rise in the demand for a ban followed by the fire at Kamala Mills. A section of official is still of the opinion that parlours should be regulated and not banned,” said a home department official familiar with the development while talking to the Hindustan Times.
But sheesha lovers shouldn’t be disappointed as another home department official clarified to the publication that hookah smoking can continue at home and in the designated zone where the rules are of not serving any food or beverage. “The SC has clearly stated that smoking hookah would not be allowed where food, beverages are served. The inclusion of hookahs in the COTPA will practically ban the parlours,” he said.