A team of the Haryana Food and Drug Authority (HFDA) raided a city bar and lounge on Monday for serving hookahs, which have been banned in the state since July 2011, and seized numerous samples.
A team comprising Pooja Chaudhary, district drug control officer of Gurgaon, and her Rewari counterpart Amandeep Chauhan, raided ‘Hook’d’ bar and lounge located at the Central Plaza in Sector 53 around 4.30pm and found nearly 20 to 25 people, including a couple of girls, smoking tobacco in hookah-like contraptions.
“We raided the premises after a tip-off. A hookah party was on in full swing. The deputy commissioner had authorised this raid in public interest. We have seized five samples. While two of them have 0.5% nicotine content, the packets of the rest say they are nicotine-free. We will send these samples to Chandigarh to ascertain their actual nicotine content,” said Chaudhary.
The spot report said that a total of nine tobacco flavours were found at the bar, along with ten hookahs.
The owner of the lounge, Rohit Pahwa, was present at the spot when the drug officers had come calling. Pahwa said, “My business is completely legitimate as I have all the licences. I only serve herbal hookah at my bar and that too only to adults.”
“Haryana is a hookah-free state in-principle; it does not matter if it is herbal or otherwise,” said Chauhan.In July 2011, a division bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court had banned the use of nicotine as an additive in any substance, including sheesha or hookah, served in lounges in Haryana, Punjab and Chandigarh.