PMC to ban hookah joints if it finds proof of narcotics in Sheesha

The Pune Municipal Corporation’s (PMC) move to ban hookah joints that are suspected of spiking the tobacco in hookahs with narcotics will have to wait till a few procedural issues are sorted out.

Primarily, the PMC has to wait till the samples collected so far are tested and narcotics presence confirmed, which may take a few weeks.

The PMC claims that it has received complaints from corporators who suspect presence of narcotics in the hookah provided at most joints to make youths addicted to it. The PMC has not yet received any written or verbal complaints from the people who visit these joints.

“Whatever action we are planning to take is because of complaints from the corporators that are based more on health and social issues,” said a PMC official. “We will not take any action till we prove that the hookahs actually contain narcotics.”

In the last two days, PMC has collected samples from 12 joints and sent them to prevention of food adulteration (PFA). It will take another three weeks before they receive a written report on the contents of hookahs.
The 12 joints include Ratna Dining Hall, Safari Hotels, Kava Caf ©, Mocha Caf ©, ABC Farms, Garage Caf ©, Maira Restaurant and Zukeri.

“We are not authorised to take any kind of action directly therefore we will work jointly with the police commissioner,” said Dr R R Pardeshi, head of the PMC health department.

There are no proper licences required to run a hookah joint. The only criterion is that a hookah joint needs to have open space and an age limit of 18 years and above.

City joints are now getting together to send a letter to the corporation to soon introduce licences for them.
“We are ready to pay the licence fee and provide all necessary documents but in return we want a proper licence from the corporation,” said Umesh Gaikwad, owner, Carnival.

Mehdi from Shisha Caf ©, ABC Farms, admits that they are left with no option but request the corporation to give away licences. He said, “Hookah comes under the central Smoking Act and they have a separate legislation section. PMC is not authorised to take any action.”

“We are more than happy to co-operate with the PMC. If they ask us for sample, we will send it across,” said Riyaaz Amlani, owner, Mocha. “Running a hookah joint comes under the Tobacco Act which is a national law and we follow every norm mentioned under the Act.”

source: mid-day.com

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