Kamala Mills fire effect: Stricter law for hookah parlours in Maharashtra soon
The CM said the draft Bill of the amendment to the existing Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA), Maharashtra, is ready and will soon be placed before the two Housesmumbai Updated: Mar 19, 2018 23:24 IST
The government will soon amend an existing law to regulate and shut hookah parlours in the state, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis said on Monday.
The CM said the draft Bill of the amendment to the existing Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA), Maharashtra, is ready and will soon be placed before the two Houses. The announcement was made in the legislative council, while replying to a supplementary question by Sharad Ranpise (Congress) over the number of illegal hookah parlours mushrooming in Mumbai and in the state.
“Currently, there is no regulation on hookah. We are working on a draft bill to amend the existing law to regulate hookah parlours in the state. It will be placed before the legislators soon.”
The move comes after the Mumbai fire brigade, in its probe, concluded that the fire at the two restaurants in Kamala Mills started because of embers used for hookah and then spread owing to the combustible material in the furniture.
The draft bill, which is modelled on the lines of the law in Gujarat, seeks a two-year jail term and fine of Rs50,000 for violators. It also proposes a minimum age for entry to bars, a minimum distance from public institutions and new licensing norms to regulate bars operating illegally.
Ranpise, while demanding that the government rein in the hookah parlours, said many youngsters fall prey to it. “College-going youngsters, educated people frequent these hookah parlours. It is dangerous as it is an addition…like drugs,” he said.
According to a survey carried out by a non-government organisation Youth Voice, which has been campaigning against such illegal joints, there are 400 hookah parlours in the city. The civic body’s records show only 50 of them are legal. In July 2011, then mayor Shubha Raul was instrumental in banning hookahs within Mumbai’s civic limits. In August 2011, the Bombay high court upheld the order of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).
A three-member committee under a retired judge will probe the Kamala Mills compound fire, Fadnavis said in the legislative council. Along with a retired judge, a former UDD secretary and a former UDD official will carry out the probe. Sanjay Dutt (Congress) slammed the state for handing over the probe to civic chief Ajoy Mehta . “We want a probe under a retired judge.”
Fadnavis said, “The probe will be completed in three months.. The terms of reference have been set by the Bombay high court