Raipur:The Amendment Bill passed by the Chhattisgarh Assembly will help curb addiction among youths and children as well as send those running hookah bars to jail.
Welcoming the Amendment Bill on the Prevention of Cigarette and Other Tobacco Production Advertisement and Trade and Commercial Production Supply-Distribution Regulation, passed in the Winter Session of Chhattisgarh Legislative Assembly, Congress MLA from Bilaspur ShaileshPandey on Friday said that it will help keep youths and children away from addiction. MLA Pandeyexpressed gratitude to the Chief Minister and the entire Cabinet for bringing such a bill which also has provision to prevent hookah bar operation.
There is provision of upto three years jail term for running hookah bars in the state and the state government has taken this milestone decision on the completion of its three years tenure, said MLA Pandey who consider the decision as a victory for Bilaspur.
It is worthwhile to mention, MLA Pandey had already launched a campaign against hookah bar and had been raising his voice in every forum. MLA Pandey had also raised this issue in the Assembly and expressed his concern over how youths are getting addicted to hookah.
Owing to the initiative of MLA Pandey, the state government started taking action against hookah bar parlours operating in all the cities of the stateincluding Bilaspur where hookah bar had been worried factor for the society.
As now the Bill has been passed in the Assembly, it will soon take the shape of a law, said Pandey, adding opening and operating hookah bar will now be a crime. With the passing of this bill, the most important thing is that now the person operating the hookah bar in the state will be punished with imprisonment of not less than one year and fine uptoRs 50000 will also be imposed.
\Excise department shying away
As MLA Shailesh Pandey raised his voice against Hookah Bars, Bilaspur police swung into action to close 27 hookah bar parlours in and around Bilaspurand took action against COTPA Act against the accused. Similar action was taken in other parts of the state. However, the Excise Department kept mum instead of taking action in this direction, Pandey said.
The department has no information about how many hookah bars were closed in the city.
After an intensive campaign launched against the hookah bar by MLA shailesh Pandey, one thing came to the fore that the Excise Department had no idea about number of hookah bars and where are they. On being asked Excise Sub-Inspector Mukesh Pandeysaid that they do not have any information about this. At the same time, in the new Bill, the Excise Department has got the right to take action.