Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh): The recent bill tabled by Madhya Pradesh government to ban hookah bars will come down heavily on 25 hookah lounges of Bhopal. After MP government got the nod from cabinet to amend Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA Act) on Tuesday, Free Press tried ascertaining the number of hookah lounges in Bhopal that would be shut after procuring the President’s approval. There are 25 of them.
While talking to several hookah lounge owners of the city, Free Press learnt that the government’s accomplishment of procuring cabinet’s nod on hookah bars’ ban has made no significant impact on their conduct as the bill remains to be approved by President of India.
Government’s efforts of pulling the plug on hookah lounges of the state went up in smoke as MP High Court had issued a stay order after which they became operational again. The operators of leading hookah lounges of Bhopal are confident about taking legal recourse, which they believe would ensure the resumption of their cafe’s operation even after the bill is approved by the President.
The confidence stems from the fact that herbal hookah flavours have been introduced in lounges of Bhopal, which, owners say do not harm health and therefore should be exempted from COTPA act.
Permission from HC
Himanshu Agarwal, operator of Atmosphere cafe in MP Nagar, told Free Press that permission would be sought from MP High Court to let those hookah bars operate as they use herbal hookah flavours, which don’t harm health.
Act to list all cafe SOPs
Police commissioner of Bhopal Makrand Deoskar said that Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) of café operation would be laid and those not abiding by it would face legal action.
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