PMC raids hookah parlours in KP, fines four

Apr 10, 2012, 06:41 IST | Neha Taneja

Even as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) stood aside and refused to comment on the legalities of operating hookah parlours in the city, Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) officials went ahead and raided cafes and parlours in Koregaon Park yesterday.

Four such establishments were fined and issued a strong warning.

Neutral stand
Chandrashekhar Salunkhe, joint commissioner (food), FDA Pune, said: “Any restaurant with seating capacity of more than 30 can have a smoking zone and use it as hookah parlour. We are only responsible for checking food quality and the rest is to be handled by the PMC.”

Dr ST Pardeshi, health officer, PMC, said: “Four parlours have been found guilty and fined. They have been warned that their licence will be cancelled if they carry out similar activities again.”

Areas in focus
Municipal Commissioner Mahesh Pathak said, “I have asked the health authorities to crack down on areas in the city like Baner, Aundh, Senapati Bapat Road, Law College Road, Kalyaninagar, Viman Nagar, Koregaon Park and Mundhwa, where most of these hookah parlours are located.”

Pathak said the city police have been directed by the Bombay High Court to control and curb hookah parlours from mushrooming in the city, as college students and adolescents are getting addicted to hookah and smoking.

Senior Police Inspector (Social Security Cell) Bhanupratap Barge said that most hookah parlours were being run on the basis of Shop Act Licence, which
violates provisions of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act, 2003. He added that all such establishments also violate the provision under Section 4 of the act, which prohibits people from smoking in public places.

“We will crack down on these (hookah) parlours from today and seize all products like hookah bowls and hoses, flavoured tobacco (with or without nicotine content). And if they are found continuing activities, their police licence will be cancelled,” Barge said.

What started the crackdown?
health Minister Suresh Shetty’s son Kshitij was found smoking a hookah in Mumbai on April 3 during a surprise raid by the social service branch of the Mumbai police. It is believed that since then, authorities are going full-throttle against hookah parlours.  

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