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Karnataka Aims To Regulate Hookah Bars Amid Escalating Concerns

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Home Minister G Parameshwara has announced the Karnataka state government’s intention to formulate a special law to regulate hookah bars within the BBMP limits. Acknowledging the impact of these establishments, particularly on the youth, Parameshwara emphasized the current limitations in controlling them due to legal constraints. The government’s move comes in response to the escalating number of hookah bars and recent incidents, such as a cylinder explosion in one of these establishments. 

Karnataka Assembly discusses hookah bar menace, Home Minister assures action

Source: The Hans India

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Parameshwara, during the assembly’s question hour, admitted the challenges in regulating hookah bars within BBMP limits. He highlighted the lack of authority for BBMP to grant licenses to operate hookah bars and the contradictory legal landscape. Despite attempts to control them, the food safety department permits their operation, and court rulings suggest that hookah bars do not require licenses. Parameshwara emphasized that operators, according to court directives, must have separate chambers on their premises for hookah usage.

Jayanagar MLA Ramamurthy raised alarm over the increasing number of hookah bars in BBMP limits, questioning the licensing procedures. He cited a recent incident involving a cylinder explosion in a hookah bar, underscoring the urgency of addressing safety issues. Home Minister Parameshwara acknowledged the incident and expressed the government’s commitment to introducing a law to prevent such occurrences.

Karnataka Plans To Ban Hookah Bars, Raise Minimum Age For Tobacco Products

Source: NDTV

Several legislators, including Rajajinagar BJP MLA Suresh Kumar and BJP MLA Aravind Bellad, voiced concerns about hookah bars becoming a menace in the city. Kumar urged the state government to follow the example of ten states, including Punjab, Rajasthan, and Gujarat, that have already banned hookah bars. He emphasized the potential health risks, even when claiming to use only flavors without tobacco. Bellad drew parallels with Punjab’s drug-related issues, cautioning against allowing a similar situation to unfold in Karnataka.

Responding to legislators’ concerns, Parameshwara assured that the government is committed to addressing the issue. He acknowledged the health risks associated with smoking and took a swipe at the BJP, suggesting a lack of action on their part during their tenure. Despite the criticism, Parameshwara reiterated the government’s commitment to banning smoking in public places and ensuring the well-being of citizens.

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