NGT issues warrants against 25 hookah bars in Delhi after owners fail to appear
A bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar also warned that hookah bars could be closed down if they cause environmental pollution.delhi Updated: Dec 01, 2017 13:06 IST
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Thursday issued bailable warrants against bars and restaurants in Delhi that allow hookah smoking.
In October, the green tribunal had sought responses from the Delhi government, the Delhi Pollution Control Committee and owners of hookah bars on a petition filed by BJP MLA Manjinder Singh Sirsa.
Warrants were issued against 25 hookah bars after the owners failed to appear before the tribunal despite notices to them.
A bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar also warned that hookah bars could be closed down if they cause environmental pollution.
Responding to the developments, Sirsa said it was tragic that youth were becoming addicted to drugs due to hookah smoking, which is far more dangerous than smoking cigarettes.
In his plea, Sirsa had said the air quality in public places such as restaurants and bars were dangerously higher than the prescribed norms.
Referring to the Prohibition of Smoking in Public Places Rules 2008, the plea said these rules were being openly flouted by many restaurants and hookah bars in Delhi wherein hookah, as a tobacco product, is being permitted to be smoked in open spaces without designating any part of its premises as a smoking area.
“Direct the MoEF to issue directions under Section 5 of the Environment Protection Act 1986 against such person or entities who have been polluting indoor ambient air in restaurants and bars and such other public places in Delhi by selling hookah or permitting hookah smoking in its premises,” the plea had said.
Sirsa had earlier alleged that hookah bars were turning Delhi’s youth into “drug addicts”.
“Despite the launch of a campaign in the country to contain the use of tobacco and to ban hookah bars, most hookah bars in Delhi were illegally running on restaurant licences illegally and selling products that are harmful for the youth,” he had earlier said.