The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation is ready to crack down on coffee shops and hookah joints. The decision was taken following a meeting called by Additional Municipal Commissioner (health) Manisha Mhaiskar last week.
On Wednesday, owners of hookah parlours criticised the move. “It is the Centre’s subject and BMC should not interfere in this matter,” said Irfan Shaikh, Owner, Coalz Foods and Flavour, a hookah parlour at Bandra.
The civic body will first issue notices to the hookah bars and coffee shops for offering hookahs. The notice will be issued a week in advance and if the civic officials find hookahs being served in areas other than smoking zone, they will start procedure to terminate the licence of that place. “The action will be initiated from the next week. If we find any joints violating the directives, notices will be issued to them and then action taken,” said Mhaiskar.
“We are going to through the licences of all hookah parlours. If they are running a hookah bar in the guise of an eatery or a coffee shop, their licences would be revoked,” said Dr Gourish Ambe, BMC’s executive health officer. After a campaign started by former mayor Shubha Raul last year, the BMC announced that hookahs would not be allowed in restaurants and eateries as it violated licensing conditions. The hookah bar owners approached the high court, saying that the law permits a restaurant with a seating capacity of more than 30 people to have a smoking section and that the BMC lacked jurisdiction to ban hookahs.
(With inputs from Naresh Kamath)