Free Press Journal

Punjab Assembly passes Bill to ban hookah bars


Chandigarh: The Punjab Assembly here today passed a Bill that provides for imposing a permanent ban on the ‘hookah’ bars in the state.

The move is aimed at reducing the use of tobacco in various forms.

The Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) (Punjab Amendment) Bill, 2018 was moved by Health Minister Brahm Mohindra.

Mohindra informed the state Assembly that the objective behind the amendment to the 2003 Act was to provide for prohibition of ‘hookah’ or ‘sheesha’ bars in the state.

The new trend of hookah-sheesha smoking is increasing day by day and these bars are being opened in restaurants, hotels, clubs and even in marriage palaces, he said.

The youth, including girls, are using hard and soft drugs in hookah and sheesha bars, he said.

“Hookah/sheesha bars are just like drug consumption rooms and they are a new threat to our youth. The owners of such cafes are providing every facility to our youth for soft drug addiction in a very comfortable and friendly atmosphere. The most harmful ingredient in hookah is nicotine, which is known to be carcinogenic,” he said.

At present, prohibitory orders under section 144 of the CrPC are promulgated against all hookah bars in all the districts of the state for two months, with an extension required at the end of the period.

The House also passed the Punjab Transparency and Accountability in Delivery of Public Service Bill, 2018. According to this bill, the state government intends to provide all the services to the citizens through on-line mode in a transparent, accountable and time-bound manner with effective use of digital technology.

“This will help in ensuring good governance characterised by efficiency, effectiveness and transparency. The Punjab Transparency and Accountability in Delivery of Public Service Bill, 2018, is proposed to be enacted to realise this objective. The new legislation will replace the existing “Right to Service Act, 2011″”.

The House also passed the Punjab Police (Amendment) Bill, 2018.

This bill aims to increase the efficacy of police action against heinous crimes endangering public life and property. It proposes to establish a Special Operations Group capable of countering and neutralising those indulging in such crimes.

The Assembly today passed another Bill for regularisation of unauthorised colonies in the state.

The state Assembly on the last day of its budget session today also passed another Bill, which clears the decks for the members to pay their own income tax.

Meanwhile, the Punjab State Commission for Scheduled Castes (Amendment) Bill, 2018, which was listed among the Bills to be passed, was withdrawn. As the Speaker asked Welfare Minister Sadhu Singh Dharmsot to read out the Bill, the Minister said that the Bill had been withdrawn.

Opposition Shiromani Akali Dal had yesterday said it would resist any move of the Punjab government to reduce the number of members of the Scheduled Castes Commission.