The bill introduced by the Maharashtra government to impose a ban on hookah parlour has received the President’s assent, accordingly, notification was issued by the state government, Rs. 1 lakh fine has been imposed on one caught violating the ban.
The amended Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply, and Distribution) Act (COTPA), 2003, imposes a fine of Rs 1 lakh and imprisonment of up to three years for violations. The amendment has also made the offence non-cognizable.
Maharashtra is the second state after Gujarat to impose such a ban, which will come into effect immediately. Besides the use of tobacco in hookah parlours, there were complaints regarding the use of drugs at such places.
“Since the notification has been issued, the ban on hookah parlour comes into effect immediately. It will be the responsibility of the police to ensure the ban is implemented.” said an official.
The state government strongly reacted against the hookah parlours after the Kamla Mill compound mishap, which accounted to loss of 14 lives. The reason behind the fire was hookah, which led to fire break out in the restaurant in which many people succumbed to fire and many died due suffocation.
The ban on hookah parlour has been finalized on papers, but its a matter of time to watch out for how the authority acts against the violators? Y don’t the government react before any major incident?
Special teams should be set up for quick action against illegal hookah parlours and public awareness drive should be conducted to acknowledge them the ill effects of hookah, especially youngsters.