Hookah bars operate despite ban
Despite a ban on hookah bars in the city, many of them are still offering the facility allegedly in connivance with the local authorities. Deevakar Anand and Leena Dhankhar report.gurgaon Updated: Feb 26, 2013 01:36 IST
Despite a ban on hookah bars in the city, many of them are still offering the facility allegedly in connivance with the local authorities. Some of these bars are operating openly from various malls and shopping marts defying the ban imposed by the district administration.
The bars also allow rave parties if one carries contraband substance, an HT undercover team found.
"We can make available tobacco of all flavours. You can carry your own drugs too," said the promoter of a hookah bar in DLF City Phase 4. Asked what if there is a raid by the police, he said, "Don't worry. We will take care of it."
Some of these bars operate from Sahara and MGF Malls on MG Road and Super Mart in DLF City Phase 4.
Young generations are being spoilt by these illegal hookah bars. The HT team found that apart from adults, several school children visit them.
Codenamed Sheesha, hookahs come in several flavours - Bubble gum, Pan techno, Bombay pan masala, Trippy Friday, Night Queen to name a few.
In February last year, the Gurgaon district commissioner had invoked section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) to ensure closure of hookah bars in the city following reports the bars were serving tobacco molasses containing nicotine which is injurious to health. Until then, hookah was being served at about 200 bars in the city.
The ban was being re-invoked every two months till September. However, section 144 is not in force at present. "Section 144 is not in place here now. And why the fuss in Gurgaon when hookah bars are allowed in Delhi," a bar manager said.
The food and drugs department officials have denied of having any information of hookah bars operating in Gurgaon. "We do not have any such information. If we get any complaint or information in this regard, we will conduct raids and take action against the erring bars," said Pooja Chaudhary, drug control officer (Gurgaon).
The department had raided two shops in Sadar Bazaar in July last year and seized a large quantity of contraband substance and packets of imported flavoured tobacco molasses containing nicotine.