Mumbai: The Maharashtra government today introduced a bill in the Legislative Assembly to ban hookah bars in the state, almost three months after a fire swept through a couple of pubs at Kamala Mills compound, killing 14 people.
The bill to amend the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003 was introduced by state Parliamentary Affairs Minister Girish Bapat.
According to the bill, no person shall, either on his own or on behalf of any other person, open or run a hookah bar in any place, including an eating house.
The bill also states that the police would have the power to seize any material or article used as a subject or means of a hookah bar.
Violators would be punished with imprisonment ranging from one to three years and fines between Rs 50,000 to Rs 1 lakh, the bill states.
The government said the hookah bars had mushroomed in places like Mumbai, Thane, Navi Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur among other cities and that they were being run in public places and restaurants.
It added that minors and college students were getting attracted to them and presently there was no law to regulate these hookah bars.
It was, therefore, necessary to regulate them by law, the government said.
An inquiry report by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Commissioner into the Kamala Mills fire had stated that the blaze started due to flying charcoal embers from a hookah being served illegally at one of the pubs there.