Home minister RR Patil, who shut down dance bars in the state, is now contemplating a complete ban on hookah parlours.
"The existing fine for serving hookahs is just Rs1,200. It's not a deterrent. If you raid a [hookah] joint, the owners are ready with the fine money. We don't want the youth to gamble away their futures over such an addiction because of sheer immaturity," said Patil. The home minister said there were several complaints from parents in Mumbai and Pune against hookah parlours. He said the home department would present a policy in the next monsoon session to place a complete ban or impose stringent restrictions on these joints. "We are exploring the legal options and studying the issue to see if these joints can be banned," he added. The BMC had issued a circular last year banning eateries and restaurants from serving tobacco in any form. However, the penalty for a violation is too meagre, as the minister pointed out.
The home minister also acknowledged that there were irregularities in purchases of certain equipment made following the 26/11 terror attacks. "I admit that police purchased belts worth Rs300 or Rs350 for Rs3,000. The state has already arrested the three accused in this scam and initiated disciplinary inquiries against police officials who made these purchases," said Patil.
Patil also announced the suspension of DCP (traffic) Nandkumar Chougule, whose property was allegedly being used to run a massage parlour and a prostitution racket.