BMC action against hookah parlors still hanging in smoke

Updated: Dec 30, 2017, 10:37 IST | Chetna Yerunkar

The Kamala Mills blaze has brought establishments serving hookahs back in the spotlight. Many visitors and eyewitnesses claim the fire might have begun because of the hookah being served at 1Above

Representation pic
Representation pic 

The Kamala Mills blaze has brought establishments serving hookahs back in the spotlight. Many visitors and eyewitnesses claim the fire might have begun because of the hookah being served at 1Above. Mayor Vishwanath Mahadeshwar said BMC has not given any kind of permissions to these hookah parlours and will carry out action against their illegal activities.

Flooded with complaints
While the civic body has been flooded with complaints of illegal hookah parlours in the city, no action has been taken against any of these places. Even in a meeting of its health committee, corporators have been asking civic officials to take action against establishments serving hookah without legal permissions.

Recently, a circular was issued to all ward officers stating that the verification of several restaurant licenses where complaints have been received should be done at the earliest and action should be taken against those found violating norms.

Mayor writes to CP
Requesting action against hookah parlours on war footing, Mahadeshwar has written to the police commissioner telling him how BMC would appreciate the police’s support in taking action against such illegal activities in the city.

Hookah history
Hookah parlours had been completely banned in 2011. In December 2014, the Supreme Court lifted the ban and asked government authorities to come up with guidelines for them along with clauses for smoking areas. Even earlier this year, the Maharashtra government had shown interest to form guidelines and there were reports about new licenses to be given to these hookah parlour owners.

1 Above neglected police warning
Police said that 1Above and Mojo’s Bistro had been warned repeatedly in past for not keeping hookah, but the former neglected the warning. As of now, preliminary reports indicate the main cause of fire appears to be hookah. “After the warning, Mojo’s stopped serving hookah to customers, but 1Above didn’t. Action was taken against the restaurant in the past, but they didn’t stop, which may have resulted in the tragic incident,” said a police officer. Cops have also initiated an internal inquiry to check if any negligence took place on their part for not regularly keeping 1Above in check. If any policeman is found guilty of negligence, then he would face action too, said an officer.

- Input by Anurag Kamble and Santosh Wagh

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