Hookahs stand in the way of Nashamukt Bharat, says ex Mumbai Mayor

Arguing that youth, and even schoolchildren, were addicted to hookahs when serving them was allowed, former mayor Shubha Raul has asked the PM to stop restaurants from doing so; the SC had lifted the ban on the sale of hookahs in October

The Supreme Court may have lifted the ban on hookahs two months ago, but former mayor Shubha Raul, who had led the campaign against hookah bars, has not given up yet.

Raul says she’ll keep writing to the PM and following up on the issue even if she doesn’t get a reply. Representation pic
Raul says she’ll keep writing to the PM and following up on the issue even if she doesn’t get a reply. Representation pic

Raul had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi asking for the serving of hookahs to be stopped last week and she told mid-day that even if she doesn’t get a reply to that letter, she’ll keep writing to him, reminding him of his promise of a ‘Nashamukt Bharat’

Raul’s letter argues that the addiction to hookahs, which have a high nicotine content, had spread like a virus among Mumbai’s youth before 2011, when serving them was permitted, and that she fears that the same thing will happen again. She said that even school-going children were addicted to hookahs.

“I was always against hookahs being served and, with the Supreme Court lifting the ban, the problem has increased as some places have started serving hookahs and more people will do so around the New Year.

I have written to our PM to do something about this and help our children be addiction-free, without which his Nashamukt Bharat will not be possible. I am yet to get a reply, but even if I don’t, I will keep following up on it and write to him again.”

BMC speak
The health department of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is busy formulating guidelines for hookah parlours before it can start giving permissions, but fears that the delay in doing so would ensure that restaurants start serving hookahs simply on the strength of the court orders.

“We will have to frame guidelines and then give permissions at the ward level. The licence department was not involved earlier, but now we have to get them on board as well,” said a BMC official.

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